Several former Ohio State University varsity wrestlers have sued the university, claiming its athletic doctor, Dr. Richard Strauss, sexually abused them and others over 20 years and the school failed to stop his misconduct.
A former OSU wrestler identified as John Doe 1 alleged in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Columbus, Ohio, that Strauss -- the team physician -- subjected him to "sexual harassment and inappropriate touching" during many of his approximately 20 medical examinations.
That Complaint follows another lawsuit, filed in July, in which four former OSU wrestlers alleged Dr. Strauss committed multiple instances of abuse on them during the 1980s and 1990s. In that Complaint, lawyers for the plaintiffs alleged that Strauss may have abused or harassed up to "1,500 to 2,500 male student athletes" during his 20 years at the school.
The lawsuit states that a student complained about Strauss as early as 1978. The legal Complaint calls Strauss a "prolific sexual predator" and says Ohio State University "knew or should have known from the beginning that Strauss was a sexual predator."
Per the Complaint: "To make a change, Ohio State must take responsibility for a dark (and until recently, buried) chapter in its storied history, a chapter during which its campus became a "cesspool of deviancy" and its doctor and assistant professor, Dr. Richard Strauss sexually assaulted, battered, molested, and/or harassed potentially thousands of its students."
Ohio State announced last month that former student athletes from 14 sports -- baseball, cheerleading, cross country, fencing, football, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track, volleyball, and wrestling -- along with students who were treated by Strauss at Student Health Services have come forward with sexual misconduct allegations.
Not mentioned in the lawsuit was U.S. Representative Jim Jordan, a former wrestling coach at the university, who was accused earlier this month by several former student wrestlers of failing to stop the molestation even after being told about it. Jordan has repeatedly claimed any suggestion that he was previously aware of the abuse is "fake news."
Ohio State said in a statement that it remains "actively committed to uncovering what may have happened and what university leaders at the time may have known" about Strauss' actions. The statement was released in mid-July in response to the two class action lawsuits against the university and related to Strauss.
"We are aware of reports that individuals at the university did not respond appropriately during that era," the statement said. "These allegations are troubling and are a critical focus of the current investigation."
There are undoubtedly many more victims who have not yet come forward due to fear, embarrassment, or other reasons. These victims who have suffered in silence and been reluctant to pursue claims now have the opportunity to seek compensation, as well as other damages and expenses.
Those who turned a blind eye to the abuse at Ohio State must be held accountable for their actions and inactions. Unfortunately, the best way to prevent such a travesty from occurring again in the future is to cause financial hurt to the institution that not only ignored the problem, but let it continue for decades.
If you or someone you care about is in need of a lawyer for a sexual abuse claim, you will want a strong, experienced law firm who will best represent your interests while maintaining the sensitivity your case deserves.
Buckfire Law's sexual abuse injury lawyers are licensed to practice law in the state of Ohio and have a comprehensive understanding of the laws in Ohio regarding sexual abuse. Our top-rated abuse attorneys have extensive experience handling these cases in the courtroom.
Buckfire Law is currently representing victims who claim to have been sexually abused by former gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar while he was employed as a sports physician at Michigan State University between 1997 and 2006. Nassar was sentenced to a lengthy prison term after pleading guilty last year to criminal sexual conduct on hundreds of gymnasts.
Michigan State University recently agreed to pay $500 million to settle claims by 332 women that they were sexually abused by Nassar, who served at an on-campus clinic at the university and at the USA Gymnastics federation. Our firm represents several victims pursuing these claims.
Unlike Nassar, who was present at his trial and witnessed firsthand his conviction and sentence, Strauss committed suicide in 2005.
For decades, Strauss was a fixture in the locker rooms, showers, and saunas of Larkins Hall, the former student and faculty recreation center on the Ohio State campus that housed the wrestling, gymnastics, and swimming teams.
A former OSU wrestling coach described Larkins Hall as "a cesspool of deviancy," saying, "Coaching my athletes in Larkins Hall was one of the most difficult things I ever did."
Who Can File A Sex Abuse Claim Against Ohio State University?
Any person who was sexually abused by Richard Strauss can pursue a claim.
Strauss reportedly sexually abused his victims under the false pretense that he was performing legitimate and acceptable medical treatments and examinations. Of course, these perverse acts had no medical benefit to the athletes or patients.
To file a claim, the victim will need to establish that treatment was performed by Strauss and that sexual abuse occurred under the pretense of a medical exam. This can be proven by medical records and other documents showing that exams were performed and the testimony of the victim about the conduct of Dr. Strauss. Other athletes can also help to corroborate these claims by discussing similar conduct by the athletic doctor.
Corroboration of the abuse by an independent witness, like a parent, is not necessary to file and win a settlement.
In past similar cases, like the Larry Nassar MSU lawsuit, it was the power of the number of victims and claimants that drove the university to finally admit fault and accept accountability for the harms and losses suffered by hundreds of women and girls abused by the sexual predator. The university had refused to acknowledge its responsibility to compensate the victims until the evidence became so overwhelming that it was impossible to deny the truth.
How Much Are Ohio State University Sex Abuse Settlements?
There have been no known settlements paid yet by Ohio State University to Richard Strauss sex abuse victims. The recently filed lawsuits are still in their infancy and the facts needed to prove and win a settlement are still being thoroughly investigated in those cases. The evidence obtained in those cases can help pave the way to settlements for other victims.
Lawsuits seek to compensate victims for the significant harm caused by the sexual abuse. The impact of sexual abuse is profound and can cause lifelong torment, anger, and psychological damage, interfere with the ability to form personal relations with others, perform work, and engage in normal social interactions. Many victims have kept their abuse inside and have never shared their traumatic experience with anyone over the years due to fear of embarrassment and humiliation.
The damages or compensation sought in this type of lawsuit are profound and can include:
- Physical pain & suffering resulting from the actual physical abuse, including sleep disturbances and other symptoms
- Psychological damages & emotional harm, including PTSD, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, isolation, and relationship difficulties
- Medical expenses (past, present, & future) for therapy, professional counseling, medical doctors, and medications
- Loss of earnings (past, present, & future)
- Punitive damages to punish the defendant for its actions and to deter others from committing similar offenses
What Is The Experience Of The Buckfire Law Firm In This Type Of Case?
If you are in need of a lawyer for a sexual abuse claim, you will want a strong, experienced law firm who will best represent your interests while maintaining the sensitivity your case deserves. Firms attorneys Lawrence J. Buckfire and Robert J. Lantzy are licensed Ohio attorneys.
Our Ohio sexual abuse injury lawyers have a comprehensive understanding of the laws regarding sexual abuse, and we have extensive experience handling these cases in the courtroom. We are currently handling cases against Michigan State University and have successfully represented clients in sex abuse lawsuits for decades, including cases against public officials, private business, and those in the medical profession.
Our lawyers have won the top awards in the legal profession, including:
- U.S. News & World Report Best Law Firms
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- Top Martindale-Hubbell Rating (AV) for Skill & Integrity
- Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum
How Much Does It Cost To Hire The Buckfire Law Firm For My Case?
You do not have to be concerned about the money you might need to hire our top-rated lawyers. You can have our legal team on your side without paying a penny out of your pocket. We will accept your case and represent you under our No-Fee Promise.
It literally costs nothing to get started, and if your case is unsuccessful for any reason, you owe us nothing. We promise you in writing:
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