A bombshell report is rocking Columbus, Ohio. A former athletic doctor for Ohio State University, molested 177 males from 1979 to 1997. The university knew about the allegations, they investigated them. Yet, they did nothing to stop further abuse from happening to their students.
There are currently multiple lawsuits against the college. Most center on OSU’s inaction and allowing the abuse to continue. Those lawsuits led to an investigation by Perkins Coie, an outside law firm. Investigators conducted more than 500 interviews.According to the 182 page report, the accusations were corroborated and credible.
Dr. Larry Strauss was a physician for many of the sports teams at Ohio State University. According to the report, he worked with the wrestling, gymnastics, and lacrosse teams mainly. He would also treat athletes from other teams if their usual team doctor was busy.
Some of the former students told interviewers Strauss’ behavior was an “open secret.” He used his position to touch the men’s genitals. Victims said he created reasons to get them naked. Students complained but higher ups brushed off the allegations. Despite knowing nothing would come of the complaints, students kept filing reports against Strauss.
Accusations Pile Up
Over the years, many investigations were opened on Strauss. According to Coie’s report: “From roughly 1979 to 1996, male students complained that Strauss routinely performed excessive — and seemingly medically unnecessary — genital exams, regardless of the medical condition the student-patients presented.” Strauss abused his power so he could touch his victims.
The doctor committed his crimes across various locations on campus. In medical exam rooms, he touched inappropriately. “Many of Strauss’ accusers who have spoken publicly said they were masturbated or otherwise touched inappropriately during physical exams.” He was also infamous for asking athletes to strip naked for fake “medical studies.” Those studies led to him caressing the other man’s genitals.
Showering with the male students was another way Strauss comitted his abuse. This happened so often that a running joke among the athletes was using the nickname “Dr. Jelly Paws” for Strauss. Administrators continued to ignore complaints.
No Punishment, Status Quo
The lawsuits allege the University knew about the allegations and did nothing to protect students. No suspensions or write ups or anything of the sort. His career continued as if no one complained.
At press time, Strauss still held the title professor emeritus. This despite the fact he committed suicide back in 2005. More than that the university tried to sweep the allegations under the rug.
In 1994, the Director of Sports Medicine, Dr. John Lombardo, conducted an investigation. When he finished, he said the allegations were nothing but “unfounded rumors.” Strauss would go on to receive an ‘excellent’ rating on each of his work reviews. Despite many young men complaining about touching that had nothing to do with why they went in to see him. Officials took Lombardo at his word and let it continue.
Ohio State University voluntarily release the Coie report. According to the university’s President, the victims were informed and given a copy of the report. In an open letter, he condemns past administrations and swears they will do better going forward. “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.” It also seems as if he is trying to distance the college from any more wrongdoing.
In his letter, Dr. Michael Drake touts the implementation of measures to help students. Yet, there is no talk about why the system failed the 177 men who were sexually abused by Strauss. Or how investigation after investigation failed to get rid of their abuser. Only that it was past administrations.
#MeToo meets the Midwest
In 2017, Hollywood was racked with accusations of rampant sexual harassment and assault. The same year, 250 young women and one young man accused Michigan State University Doctor Larry Nassar of sexual assualt. Survivors testified against him at his sentencing. They revealed how he had ruined their lives, Nassar for his part showed no guilt.
Alas, Strauss’ victims will not get the same chance. Because Ohio State University officials waited so long, Strauss is dead. He died knowing he would not have to pay for the pain he inflicted on the survivors of his abuse.