Ohio State shares updates related to Dr. Richard Strauss
Office for Civil Rights inquiry announced
The Ohio State University shared an update today related to Dr. Richard Strauss, a physician employed by the university from the mid-1970s to 1990s. Strauss died in 2005.
The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which oversees enforcement of Title IX, has opened an investigation based on the allegations against Strauss made by former Ohio State students. The directed investigation will be conducted by the OCR Cleveland regional office and will examine whether the university is responding promptly and equitably to complaints and reports by former students, including allegations that employees knew or should have known about the sexual misconduct and allowed the abuse to continue.
“We welcome the involvement and careful oversight of OCR and look forward to providing any information we can,” said Gates Garrity-Rokous, vice president and chief compliance officer for Ohio State.
“We responded promptly and appropriately to the allegations received in April about Dr. Strauss. We are confident in the independence and thoroughness of the investigation we launched then as well as our ongoing commitment to transparency.”
Perkins Coie independent investigation continues to move forward
The independent investigation announced by Ohio State in April continues to move forward. Perkins Coie LLP, an international law firm with expertise in these matters, is conducting the investigation. Updates and resources are on the university’s website.
Additional updates are expected at the university’s Board of Trustees meeting later this month.
The university continues to encourage anyone with information about Strauss’ conduct to contact 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.
Media and third parties independently contacting students
Perkins Coie uses the most trauma-informed approach to an investigation of this type. Due to the concern of re-traumatizing individuals who were affected and do not wish to revisit the experience, investigators are not contacting any former students who may have been examined by Strauss. Instead, Perkins Coie is working with Ohio State to release regular updates to the public in order to empower others to determine whether they want to come forward.
The investigators have learned that some former students have been contacted by the media or other third parties regarding any interaction they may have had with Strauss. The investigators have not been involved with any efforts by the media or other third parties to solicit individual students who wish to maintain their privacy, as such contact contravenes the trauma-informed approach the investigative team utilizes.
Ohio State will continue to provide updates on the independent investigation and, upon completion, will report the outcome.
The Columbus law firm of Carpenter Lipps & Leland LLP has been retained by Ohio State to handle litigation concerning three lawsuits filed recently against the university by former students. Ohio State’s handling of the litigation is entirely separate from the ongoing independent investigation that is being conducted by Perkins Coie.