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Officials at Ohio State University indicate $5.8 million will be paid to settle about two dozen lawsuits brought by former students who say they were sexually abused by Richard Strauss, a deceased doctor who used to work in the university’s athletics department.
The sexual abuse settlement will bring the total Ohio State University has paid to resolve the cases to $46.7 million, involving a total of 185 claims, according to a press release issued on October 13.
According to allegations raised in the lawsuits, Strauss sexually groped young male athletes and other patients during examinations, while working for the University. Plaintiffs maintain that concerns about the abusive behavior was raised with Ohio State University, but the allegations were covered up and not adequately disclosed to students and former patients.
Strauss, who died in 2005, was removed from his position as a physician in the Department of Athletics and Student Health Services in 1996, and his actions were reported to the State Medical Board of Ohio that same year. However, the university never reported his actions to the police or fully disclose the widespread allegations.
The original settlement involved the establishment of a $40.9 million Qualified Settlement Fund in May, which was to be divided among 162 survivors of Strauss’s assaults. The latest addition to that settlement includes $5.8 million, which will resolve claims by an additional 23 plaintiffs. The average plaintiff will receive about $252,000.
“Nothing can ever fully repair the damage suffered long ago and trauma the victims continue to experience today,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in the press release. “The current leadership at Ohio State should be commended for embracing its responsibility to do the right thing by those victimized by Richard Strauss.”
The report and lawsuits come as Ohio State University is involved in another class action lawsuit filed against USA Diving. That lawsuit, filed in July 2018 on behalf of 50 plaintiffs, claims that Will Bohonyl, a former OSU diving coach and gynecologist, regularly sexually assaulted female athletes.
Bohonyl pled guilty to sexual battery charges and was sentenced to four years in prison in August 2019.
The claims are also similar to those made by hundreds of women and girls molested by Larry Nassar, a former Michigan State University (MSU) gynecologist who worked with USA Gymnastics.
After receiving a federal sentence of 60 years on child pornography charges in 2017, Nassar will spend the rest of his life in jail. He has also received two additional sentences; including one for 40 to 175 years, and another of 40 to 125 years from verdicts in two Michigan courts.