An Ohio State University team doctor sexually abused at least 177 male students over nearly two decades and was never disciplined at the US school despite reports of his actions, an investigation found Friday.
Richard Strauss, who died in 2005, committed the abuse while employed at the school from 1978 to 1998, and university staff were made aware of claims as early as 1979, according to a 12-month independent probe.
The probe looked into misconduct allegations from 1979 to 1997 reported by former students — 150 of whom reported first-hand accounts of sexual abuse committed by Strauss.
In all, more than 440 former students and university staff believed to have information related to allegations involving Strauss were interviewed for the investigation.
The victims included school athletes as well as other students who saw Strauss at the university health center and at an off-campus private medical office.
Strauss established the private medical office in 1996 after he was suspended from his activities as a treating physician at the school but remained a tenured faculty member.
University president Michael Drake said an independent investigation was launched into the allegations after they were brought to the university’s attention last year.
“The findings are shocking and painful to comprehend,” Drake said as he made the redacted investigation report public.
“On behalf of the university, we offer our profound regret and sincere apologies to each person who endured Strauss’s 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.”