OSU to Pay $41 Million to Settle Doctor Abuse Claims
The payouts to the claimants represent about half of the former OSU students who say they were victimized by Richard Strauss.
Ohio State University (OSU) announced on Friday that it has finalized its $40.9 million settlement with 162 survivors in 12 lawsuits related to sexual abuse by Richard Strauss, a university-employed physician from 1978 to 1998.
The payouts to the claimants represent about half of the former OSU students who say they were victimized by the doctor.
A report released by OSU in May 2019 following an independent investigation found school officials knew of at least 177 students who were sexually abused by Strauss. The abuse included nearly 1,500 acts of fondling and more than 40 rapes. The majority of the victims were affiliated with the athletics department where Strauss worked as a team doctor for several sports.
As part of the investigation, OSU “reached out broadly to 115,000 alumni and former student-athletes who attended Ohio State during Strauss’ employment and to 147,000 current students, faculty and staff to inform them of the investigation and encourage them to share any information they had with the independent investigators,” the school said on Friday.
The OSU settlement funds will be distributed by an independent special master, who is trained in sex abuse trauma, “on an individual basis based on the harm and damages experienced by each survivor” and will come from “existing institutional discretionary funding,” former OSU President Michael V. Drake wrote in a press release last year.
Negotiations between the school and Strauss victims have been ongoing since 2018 and have been overseen by a federal judge in Cincinnati.
Since February 2019, OSU has covered the cost of counseling services and treatment for anyone affected by Strauss. To connect with these services call 888-961-9273 or visit https://website.praesidiuminc.com/wp/osu/.
Several lawsuits by other victims are pending.
“Ohio State continues to participate in good faith in the mediation process with the survivors involved in the remaining lawsuits, and remains committed to a resolution with plaintiffs, including a monetary resolution,” the school said in a statement.
However, one representative for 38 former athletes who have not settled with OSU, described the $41 million settlement as “pathetic,” reports the New York Times.