10 more ex-students sue Ohio State over sex abuse by doctor
COLUMBUS (AP) — Ten more former students have sued Ohio State University over alleged sexual misconduct by a now-dead team doctor, accusing school officials of facilitating abuse by ignoring complaints and requiring some athletes to get physicals from him to maintain their sports participation and scholarships.
The case filed Thursday is the third federal lawsuit brought by men alleging sexual abuse by Dr. Richard Strauss, who worked at Ohio State from 1978 until he retired in 1998.
"Beginning his very first year of employment at OSU – and spanning his entire two-decade tenure – Dr. Strauss preyed on male students, fondling, groping, sexually assaulting, and harassing them. He did so with OSU's knowledge and support," the lawsuit said, adding that many of the students didn't speak up then because they were embarrassed or unsure whether it was abuse.
The lawsuit accuses the university of having "a culture of institutional indifference" about students' safety and rights and failing to appropriately address Strauss' behavior in violation of federal Title IX law, which bars sex discrimination in education.
An independent investigation is ongoing at Ohio State, which says it's committed to learning the truth.
The allegations that people at Ohio State didn't respond appropriately at the time "are troubling and are a critical focus of the current investigation," university spokesman Benjamin Johnson said.
All three lawsuits seek unspecified monetary damages, but unlike the first two, the newest case doesn't propose to represent all Ohio State students mistreated by Strauss.
"Our clients think that they're entitled to an individual response from the university and individual accountability," said Jack Landskroner, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys.
The plaintiffs include Steve Snyder-Hill, who lodged a complaint in 1995 about being inappropriately touched by Strauss during an exam at the student health center and recalls being told that Strauss denied it.
Ohio State has a record of that complaint and the response sent by the health center's director, who said it was the first such complaint he'd received about Strauss.