Ohio State University employees failed to act in a timely manner on the knowledge that a university team doctor was sexually abusing student athletes — and at least 177 students were abused over roughly two decades, according to a long-anticipated report released Friday.
The independent investigation found that the late Dr. Richard Strauss’ habit of abusing male students was an “open secret” known by coaches, trainers, other team doctors and school leaders, reported the Associated Press.
The report included information gathered from hundred of former students and university employees. Strauss died by suicide in 2005 after working at the university from 1978 to 1998, reported USA Today.
The report found that Strauss abused male students involved in at least 16 sports, and students described his examinations as being “hazed,” according to the AP.
“The findings are shocking and painful to comprehend,” university president Michael Drake wrote in an email sent to students, faculty and staff Friday. “On behalf of the university, we offer our profound regret and sincere apologies to each person who endured Strauss’ abuse. Our institution’s fundamental failure at the time to prevent this abuse was unacceptable — as were the inadequate efforts to thoroughly investigate complaints raised by students and staff members.”
The university is taking steps to revoke Strauss’ emeritus status, Drake said in the email.
Apparently even a former university president knew that Strauss was in danger of losing his job, as he appealed to then-president Gordon Gee’s office to keep his job, reported the AP.
Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who coached wrestling at the university from 1986 to 1994, was accused by former wrestlers including Mike DiSabato and Mark Coleman of failing to act on knowledge of Strauss’ abuse. Jordan denied the allegations and Coleman recanted his claim in August.
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