Who knew about the sex- ual abuse and turned a blind eye to it? Furthermore, who knew about the sexual abuse and helped cover it up? We’ve asked those questions time and again with regard to the persistent pedophilia crisis in the Roman Catholic Church.
Our condemnation of the church’s hierarchy for failing to punish priests who sexually abused young boys has been unwavering.
We have demanded that bishops who protected the pedophile clergy be charged with aiding and abetting in criminal acts.
Today, the two questions we’ve posed are now directed at a new target: Ohio State University.
The shocking, blood-curdling revelations that Ohio State’s long-time team doctor, Richard Strauss, sexually abused more than 170 male students warrant a full public airing of the facts.
According to a report released Friday, Dr. Strauss, who killed himself in 2005 at age 67, groped and ogled young men while treating athletes from at least 16 sports and working at the student health center and his off-campus clinic.
Investigators from a law firm hired by Ohio State charge that numerous university officials were aware of what was going on over the years but did little or nothing to stop him.
“We are so sorry that this happened,” President Michael Drake said of the sexual abuses that occurred from the 1970s through the 1990s.
Drake used words like “shocking,” “horrifying” and “heartbreaking” to describe the findings.
But here’s a fact that the president must address: While Strauss was eventually let go as a team doctor and physician at the student health center, he was allowed to retire with honors from a faculty position.
Thus we ask: Who on campus knew about the sexual abuse of male students and turned a blind eye to it? Who knew about the sexual abuse and helped cover it up?
We fully support the demand from lawyers for some of the victims for full disclosure from Ohio State.
The names of all coaches, trainers and personnel who knew of but failed to act on the complaints against Strauss must be made public.
The lawyers, who represent nearly 60 men who said they were abused, also want Ohio State to reveal more about what it knows, including details about the doctor’s work with high school athletes and at summer camps run by the school.
If university President Drake is truly heartbroken, he will immediately let the campus community, the state and nation know who enabled such dastardly crimes to be committed for so many years.
Meanwhile, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who said everyone should be “disgusted” by what occurred, has ordered a review of the state medical board’s handling of complaints against Dr. Strauss.
On Monday, DeWine said a working group will review an unredacted version of the report to determine what medical board members knew about the abuse and when they knew it.
And here’s a question that immediately comes to mind: Did the state medical board refuse to take seriously the complaints because they involved a doctor on the payroll of Ohio’s flagship university, Ohio State?
Just as the Roman Catholic Church has long been given the benefit of the doubt by many true believers who are of the opinion that the pope and his archbishops and bishops can do no wrong, Ohio State exerts similar influence and power over a goodly number of public officials.
We applaud Gov. DeWine, the former state attorney general, for launching an investigation of the state medical board.
DeWine acknowledged that Strauss’ suicide means he cannot be held accountable, but that learning the facts might prevent a repeat.
As we have said in our condemnation of the Catholic Church’s handling of the child sexual abuse crisis, sunshine is the best disinfectant when those in positions of trust have committed crimes.
We urge the governor to ensure that all the facts uncovered by his investigation of the state medical board are fully disclosed to the public.
In the end, just as we have called for the defrocking of pedophile priests and the punishment of bishops who protected them, heads must roll in the sexual abuse scandal involving Ohio State’s team doctor, Strauss.
In addition to announcing that a working group will delve into the state medical board’s inaction, the governor also called for lifting Ohio’s statute of limitations on rape cases.
Currently, the time is between 20 and 25 years, depending on circumstances.