Supreme Court Allows Lawsuits Against Ohio State University Over Sexual Abuse by Doctor
The Supreme Court has decided not to hear two cases involving sexual abuse by a former Ohio State University doctor, Richard Strauss. This decision allows more than 230 men to sue the university over decades-old sexual abuse allegations. The men are among hundreds of former student-athletes and other alumni who say they were abused by Strauss, who worked at the school from 1978 to 1998.
The university had urged the court to review a ruling by the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that revived lawsuits that had been dismissed. The remaining plaintiffs have argued that they filed timely claims and that the time limit didn’t start running until the 2018 investigation into Strauss’ abuse made his conduct public. The men say that was when they first learned that the school had been aware of Strauss’ abuse and failed to protect them from him.
Many of the victims allege that Strauss abused them during required physicals and other medical exams at campus athletic facilities, a student health center, his home, and an off-campus clinic. Strauss killed himself in 2005 at age 67. The university in 2018 announced an investigation into Strauss’ abuse and the university’s conduct. It has apologized to his victims and reached over $60 million in settlements with at least 296 people.
The men who sued say university officials failed to stop Strauss despite complaints raised as early as the late 1970s. Many also only realized then that they’d been victims of abuse since Strauss disguised his abuse as medical care, their lawyers said.
The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the cases means that the lawsuits against Ohio State University will continue. The plaintiffs’ lawyers said they were pleased with the decision and look forward to returning to the trial court, having their clients’ stories heard, and gathering further evidence of OSU’s widespread cover-up of Dr. Strauss’s serial predation.
Ohio State University’s Response
Ohio State University has apologized to the victims of Richard Strauss and has reached settlements with many of them. However, the university has sought to have the remaining unsettled cases dismissed, arguing that the time limit for the claims had long passed.
The university has said that it is committed to ensuring that its students, faculty, and staff are safe and protected from sexual misconduct. It has implemented several measures to prevent sexual abuse and harassment, including mandatory training for all employees and students, increased staffing for its Title IX office, and the creation of a survivor advocacy program.
The university has also established a $45 million fund to provide compensation to Strauss’ victims. The fund is independent of the university and is overseen by an independent mediator.
The Impact of the Decision
The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the cases against Ohio State University is significant because it allows the lawsuits to continue. The decision also sends a message to other universities that they must take allegations of sexual abuse seriously and take steps to prevent it from happening in the future.
The decision also highlights the importance of reporting sexual abuse and harassment. Many of Strauss’ victims did not come forward until years after the abuse occurred. By speaking out, they have not only sought justice for themselves but have also helped to prevent future abuse.
The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the cases against Ohio State University is a victory for the victims of Richard Strauss. It allows them to continue their lawsuits against the university and seek justice for the abuse they suffered. The decision also sends a message to other universities that they must take allegations of sexual abuse seriously and take steps to prevent it from happening in the future. Reporting sexual abuse and harassment is crucial in preventing future abuse and seeking justice for survivors.