Ohio State shares developments in Strauss investigation
Additional affected sports teams identified, public website launched
The Ohio State University Board of Trustees today heard an update with new details in the ongoing independent investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct raised against former university-employed physician Dr. Richard Strauss.
In a meeting of the board’s Audit and Compliance Committee, Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce A. McPheron presented a letter from Kathleen Trafford of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP, appointed by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office as special counsel to the university in connection with the Strauss investigation. The letter contained an update on the status of the investigation being conducted by the firm Perkins Coie LLP.
Perkins Coie is charged with identifying and evaluating recent allegations raised against Strauss that date from his time as a university employee. Strauss was employed by Ohio State from the mid-1970s to the 1990s. He died in 2005. The firm is also tasked with determining the extent of the university’s knowledge of such allegations during the period of his employment with the university.
Many individuals reached out to the investigators following President Michael V. Drake’s email to alumni sent on May 21, 2018, in which he requested that individuals who have information regarding Strauss provide it to the investigative team. The investigators have conducted or scheduled more than 130 interviews with individuals reported to have information relevant to the investigation.
Perkins Coie now has received confidential reports of sexual misconduct committed by Strauss from former varsity men student-athletes in 14 sports, up from eight previously identified, and from former patients of Student Health Services within the Office of Student Life. The sports include baseball, cheerleading, cross country, fencing, football, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track, volleyball and wrestling.
It is important that anyone with information about incidents relating to Dr. Strauss and his time at Ohio State contact investigators at firstname.lastname@example.org. The identity of those who contact Perkins Coie will be treated with the utmost confidence and sensitivity permitted by law, and individuals may report anonymously if they wish.
In August 1996, Strauss established a private medical office in Columbus outside the university setting, where individuals have reported that additional acts of sexual misconduct allegedly occurred.
“I want to reiterate our sincere appreciation to the alumni and others who have come forward – for the courage it takes in circumstances like these and for their assistance in helping us to deal with this issue in a straightforward and clear fashion,” Drake said.
“These are deeply troubling allegations. We are committed to get to the bottom of this.”
The university has launched a website that houses information about the ongoing independent investigation. The website contains contact information for Perkins Coie and human resources records related to Strauss’ employment, and identifies resources for people who have experienced sexual misconduct.
According to records identified to date, Strauss:
- Joined Ohio State’s clinical faculty and the medical staff as an attending physician on Sept. 1, 1978.
- Served as a team physician in Athletics from July 1, 1981, to June 30, 1995.
- Was a part-time physician in Student Health Services from July 1, 1994, to Aug. 7, 1996.
- Resigned from the medical staff on Dec. 31, 1994, and remained on the faculty until his retirement as professor emeritus on July 1, 1998.
Ohio State announced the allegations against Strauss and the launch of the external investigation in early April based on a report from an alleged victim who indicated at the time that there may have been others who experienced sexual misconduct by Strauss.
The university will continue to provide updates as the investigation progresses and report the outcome of the investigation upon its completion.