Who Is Richard Strauss? New Details On Ohio State Doctor Accused Of Sexually Assaulting More Than 177 Male Athletes

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Who is Richard Strauss? New Details On Ohio State Doctor Accused Of Sexually Assaulting More Than 177 Male Athletes

It is starting to seem like there is a sexual predator around every corner. We've barely recovered from the U.S. Gymnastics/Dr. Larry Nassar scandal and here's another one that goes back just as long. The late Dr. Richard Strauss was a doctor for Ohio State's athletic teams from 1978 to the late 1990s. In April, three former Ohio State wrestlers went public with allegations of sexual abuse. This prompted an investigation by the university and led to the discovery of at least 177 men that Strauss sexually abused from 1979 to 1997 — which is pretty much the entire time the team doctor and sports medicine researcher was employed by the university. Strauss killed himself in 2005 at age 67, seven years after he retired from Ohio State. Who is Richard Strauss?

1. His tenure at Ohio State

Dr. Richard Strauss worked at the Ohio State University from September 1978 through March 1998. He was employed as a doctor with the Athletic Department and Student Health Center. The university's investigations into the allegations against him revealed that university personnel were aware of Strauss' abuse as early as 1979. However, according to the report: "despite the persistence, seriousness, and regularity of such complaints, no meaningful action was taken by the University to investigate such concerns until January 1996," when they were first elevated to officials beyond Student Health or the Athletics Department." At that time, Strauss was suspended from working as an active, treating physician at OSU after a number of students claimed they had been abused by him. The university removed him from his department but allowed him to remain a tenured faculty member. He voluntarily retired in 1998 with "emeritus" status from OSU. The university did not report Strauss to authorities. 

RELATED: Olympic Gymnast Aly Raisman Shares Awful Details Of Alleged Sexual Abuse By Dr. Larry Nassar That Started At Age 13

2. The allegations against him

What started with allegations of abuse by three former members of the Buckeyes' wrestling team in April has ballooned into accusations of abuse from at least 16 sports including wrestling, swimming and hockey. The allegations also include Strauss' work in the student health center and at an off-campus clinic he founded in the 1990s. The complaints against Strauss state that he fondled male students to the point of sexual arousal and he also showered alongside male students at OSU's athletics facility. Strauss' accusers claim that more than 20 school officials and staff members were aware of the complaints against Strauss while he was employed a OSU. In a letter to students and faculty, Ohio State President Michael Drake said: "The findings are shocking and painful to comprehend. Our institution’s fundamental failure at the time to prevent this abuse was unacceptable."

3. The football team was included

According to The Dayton News: a lawyer is preparing a lawsuit against the Ohio State University on behalf of more than 50 former athletes who allege they were sexually abused by Dr. Richard Strauss. Most of the clients in the lawsuit are former football players from the university's legendary program. A number of these athletes went on to play in the NFL. The attorney, Michael Wright, said that the abuse happened during required physical exams at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center as well as during treatment for injuries that took place at Strauss' off campus clinic and at his home. The former athletes allege the Strauss insisted they be seen at his home. 

RELATED: Who Is Larry Nassar's Wife? New Details On Stephanie Nassar And Their 2017 Divorce

4. The report

The university hired Seattle-based law firm Perkins Coie to investigate the claims against Dr. Richard Strauss. The 232 page report found that Strauss sexually abused at least 177 male students. The investigators found that Strauss abused male students from 1979 to 1997 at a number of locations across campus, including examining rooms, locker rooms, showers and saunas. The doctor contrived to get the young men to strip naked and groped them sexually, among other allegations of abuse.

5. The whistleblowers

Former Ohio State wrestler Mike DiSabato met with OSU officials in March 2018 to discuss the abuse he and other athletes were subjected to by Strauss. Steven Snyder-Hill was the next former OSU athlete to come forward. He filed a report with the university in 1995 detailing how he was molested by Strauss that the university never followed up on. Nick Nutter, an All-American wrestler at OSU in the mid-1990s said that Strauss molested him nearly every time he saw him for physical exams and treatment during his five years on the Buckeyes wrestling team. He said he was raised to be respectful to authority figures like coaches and doctors, which made him the "perfect victim" for a predator like Strauss. Nutter said: “Your co-pay is fondling. I viewed every single injury like that.”

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RELATED: 11 Most Powerful Quotes From The Brave Athletes Who Spoke Out Against Abusive Doctor Larry Nassar

6. Repercussions for the university

Three federal lawsuits have been filed against OSU so far. Two are headed for mediation. The U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights is looking into whether Ohio State responded promptly and fairly to students’ complaints. If OSU has found to have violated students' civil rights protections, the department could cut the university’s federal funding.

Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based freelance writer covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. She is deeply devoted to her chocolate Labrador and an avid long distance runner. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.