More than 100 former Ohio State University students have reported firsthand accounts of sexual misconduct by a school doctor, the university said in a statement Friday.
Those students have been interviewed as part of the investigation into allegations against the late Richard Strauss, who died in 2005.
“We are grateful to those who have come forward and remain deeply concerned for anyone who may have been affected by Dr. Strauss’ actions,” said OSU President Michael V. Drake. “We remain steadfastly committed to uncovering the truth.”
The university announced in April that it is investigating allegations of sexual misconduct by Strauss. The school has hired a law firm, Perkins Coie, to look into the claims made by former male athletes on 14 sports teams.
A number of former Ohio State athletes have come forward in recent weeks to publicly claim that Strauss, who died by suicide, sexually abused them under the guise of a medical examination.
The abuse is alleged to have taken place between 1979 and 1997, Friday’s statement said.
More than 200 interviews with former students and university staff have been conducted and more than 100 additional interviews are anticipated.
The university said investigators are not reaching out to possible victims directly, to avoid “re-traumatizing those who may have been affected and do not wish to revisit the experience.”
Instead, OSU has endeavored to communicate widely with the university’s alumni and former athletes, and has encouraged anyone with information to contact Perkins Coie investigators, even if they would like to share their account anonymously.
“The Ohio State University remains actively committed to uncovering what may have happened and what university leaders at the time may have known,” the statement said.
Alleged assault happened during medical examinations, accusers say
Athletes in 14 different sports claim to have been victims of Strauss, but another former OSU student told CNN that he was abused while working at Strauss’ private clinic.
One of the wrestlers, Michael DiSabato, claims he was groped by Strauss dozens of times during medical examinations. He’s said that it was a running joke that no matter what ailment a person asked Strauss to look at, the doctor would always examine his genitals.
Some of the accusers have claimed that US Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio – an OSU assistant wrestling coach between 1987 and 1995 – knew about the abuse but did nothing.
Jordan, who has repeatedly denied having any direct knowledge of sexual abuse, has been interviewed as part of the investigation, he said Wednesday.
Two class-action lawsuits filed earlier this week by former student wrestlers claim OSU turned a blind eye to the doctor’s alleged abuse.