More than 100 former students have told investigators they were victims of sexual misconduct by a now-deceased Ohio State University (OSU) doctor employed by its athletic department and medical staff for nearly two decades, the university said on Friday.
New details about the investigation of Richard Strauss were made public days after five former varsity wrestlers sued OSU over allegations that Strauss had sexually abused them and others and that the university was complicit in failing to take action against him.
The scandal has had implications for Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, whose tenure as an assistant wrestling coach at the university overlapped with Strauss’ time there.
The Republican, considered by some to be a possible contender to succeed the retiring US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, has denied knowing anything about abuse allegations at the time.
Strauss was a university staff physician during the 1970s, ’80 and ’90s for several varsity sports, the school’s medical center and student health clinic. He retired from the faculty in 1998 and committed suicide in 2005.
Allegations against him first surfaced in April, when the university announced an investigation had been opened into the doctor in his former capacity as the OSU wrestling team physician.
A law firm assigned to conduct an independent inquiry on behalf of the Ohio state attorney general has interviewed more than 200 former students and staff believed to have had knowledge of the matter, the school said in an online update.
More than 100 ex-students interviewed reported “firsthand accounts” of being victimized by Strauss, the university said.
The allegations date from 1979 to 1997, from former athletes in 14 varsity sports and former patients of the student clinic, the school said.
No mention was made of Jordan or whether investigators found evidence that former or current university staff were aware of abuse, but failed to report it.
The university has previously said that question is part of the inquiry.
One of the two lawsuits said “rampant sexual abuse” was reported to OSU administrators and to the head of the athletic department” who “turned a blind eye” to the wrongdoing.
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