The Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way for lawsuits brought by more than 100 men who say they were abused by a medical doctor at The Ohio State University to go forward.
Without comment, the court rejected an appeal from the university. The case revolves around alleged abuse by Dr. Richard Strauss beginning in the late 1970s. Strauss died in 2005.
The university’s lawyers called Strauss’ conduct “reprehensible” but said the lawsuits were untimely because they were filed too late, exceeding the statute of limitations. They said that while the conduct allegedly occurred between 1978 and 1998, the respondents did not file suit until 2018 and 2021 – decades after the alleged abuse occurred.
A federal appeals court ruled in favor of them, allowing the lawsuit to proceed under Title IX, a federal law that bars sexual discrimination in schools. The men accused the university of “deliberate indifference to sex crimes” within the university and said that many victims did not know the full extent of the school’s involvement in a cover-up until 2019.
In court papers, the school said it has “committed substantial resources to preventing and addressing sexual misconduct on campus” and is a fundamentally different institution today. It called the questions in the case “purely legal.”
Lawyers for the men told the justices that “although Ohio State sought to dismiss their claims as untimely, the Sixth Circuit properly held that the victims’ claims did not accrue until they learned of both their injury and Ohio State’s role in causing it –a role that the University had covered up for decades.”