May 9 (UPI) — Ohio State University will pay more than $40 million to 162 former students who said a team doctor abused them over two decades, the school announced.
The $40.9 million settlement announced Friday will be split among victims of Dr. Richard Strauss, a university-employed doctor, who died in 2005. The abuse happened between 1978 and 1998.
“The university of decades ago failed these individuals – our students, alumni and members of the Buckeye community,” President Michael Drake said. “Nothing can undo the wrongs of the past, but we must do what we can today to work toward restorative justice.
“Our focus will always be on the survivors. We know it took great courage for them to come forward, and we are grateful.”
The settlement comes one year after an independent investigatory report confirmed the allegations of abuse.
Strauss was allowed to voluntarily retire in 1998 after the allegations were reported to the state medical board in 1996.
Former students said the abuse included instances in which Strauss asked probing and seemingly unnecessary questions about students’ sexual histories, or required them to strip completely naked for examinations. He also allegedly fondled male students’ genitals to cause arousal.
The law firm said Ohio State failed to report allegations made against Strauss to local law enforcement.
Meanwhile, the school has implemented new abuse reporting protocols, cut off public access to locker rooms and training facilities, and is providing student-athletes with access to multiple physicians.
“Working with Ohio State, we established an independent confidential process to evaluate each claim individually,” said Rick Schultz, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs.
“The process will account for wide variations in abuse and provide a pathway for survivor healing. One hundred percent of 162 survivors in this settlement decided against further litigation and agreed to participate. The participation rate speaks to the quality of this settlement!”