15
April
2022
|
08:30 AM
America/New_York

Two new settlements reached between Ohio State, Strauss survivors

More than half of plaintiffs have now settled their claims

The Ohio State University has reached two settlement agreements totaling $1.995 million with an anticipated 57 additional survivors in cases involving Richard Strauss following the dismissal of the lawsuits by the federal court.

Including these resolutions, Ohio State has reached settlement agreements with 289 survivors, more than half of the plaintiffs, for $59.79 million.

Strauss was a university-employed physician from 1978 to 1998. He died in 2005.

Survivors covered under the agreements announced today had filed lawsuits related to sexual abuse committed by Strauss too late to be eligible for mediations in federal court and the individual settlement program established by the university in May 2021.

There have been three previous settlements with other survivors, two through the court-administered mediation process and one through the university’s public settlement program. 

“Our deepest gratitude goes to the survivors of Strauss’ abuse for their courage in coming forward,” said Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson. “They brought this terrible abuse to light, and the university is committed to continuing to work toward restorative justice.”

Under the terms of the two new agreements, an anticipated 57 survivors from seven lawsuits, represented by five law firms, have settled for $35,000 on average. No taxpayer, tuition or restricted donor funds are utilized for these settlements.

All of the participating plaintiffs will dismiss their claims against the university. As with previous agreements, the settlement does not prohibit individuals from talking about Strauss’ abuse publicly.

“Our clients are pleased to have resolved this matter and wish to express their support for all the victims of Richard Strauss,” said John Camillus of the Law Offices of John C. Camillus LLC, and Ben Bianco and Mitch Schuster of Meister Seelig & Fein LLP.

An independent investigation by the law firm Perkins Coie LLP determined that Strauss abused students for more than 20 years, and that the university administration failed to appropriately respond at the time.

Ohio State announced the independent investigation after a survivor came forward in April 2018. Following Perkins Coie’s year-long investigation, the university released a 180-page report in May 2019 that detailed acts of sexual abuse against at least 177 former students. The report along with related public records and university communications from 2018 through today can be found on the Strauss investigation website.

Since February 2019, the university has also covered the cost of professionally certified counseling services and treatment for anyone affected by Strauss, whether counseling and treatment occurred in the past or is needed at any point in the future. To connect with these services, or if individuals are at all uncertain about how to proceed and have questions, please contact Praesidium at 888-961-9273 or visit https://website.praesidiuminc.com/wp/osu/.

Ohio State continues to commit resources to prevent and address sexual misconduct, including policies, programs, staffing and tools. Anyone who has experienced sexual misconduct while at Ohio State — and the incident involved another student or university employee — is encouraged to report to the Office of Institutional Equity, the university’s anonymous reporting service or law enforcement.

Those who have experienced sexual misconduct outside of Ohio State should contact local law enforcement. Additional resources include:

  • If you reside in the Columbus, Ohio, area, advocates from SARNCO can assist you in reporting, explain the investigation process and support you. SARNCO’s confidential, 24/7 support hotline is 614-267-7020.
  • If you do not reside in the Columbus area, you can contact the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline, a confidential, 24/7 resource, at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). You can also visit the website to chat live with a representative. Advocates will help you find a resource in your community.

Current Ohio State students seeking additional support services can contact the Office of Student Life’s Counseling and Consultation Service while faculty and staff can access support resources through the Employee Assistance Program.

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