Ohio State team doctor sexually abused at least 177 students, investigators say

Nellie Chapman
May 18, 2019

A now-dead Ohio State team doctor sexually abused at least 177 male students from the 1970s through the 1990s, and numerous university officials got wind of what was going on over the years but did little or nothing to stop him, according to a report released by the school Friday. But students' allegations never left the department or the health center until 1996.

The probe looked into misconduct allegations from 1979 to 1997 reported by former students - 150 of whom reported first-hand accounts of sexual abuse committed by Strauss.

According to the report, the Ohio State "had knowledge" of sexually abusive treatment from Strauss as early as 1979, "but reports about Strauss' conduct were not elevated beyond the Athletics Department or Student Health until 1996". Like the school, they said they were seeking the truth about him.

Strauss, a well-regarded physician and sports-medicine researcher, killed himself in 2005.

In a message sent to the OSU community, President Michael Drake said the report's "findings are shocking and painful to comprehend".

Drake also said "we offer our profound regret and honest 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", he said. But he was allowed to retire from a faculty position at the university and received emeritus status based on his longstanding service and commitment.

"Dreams were broken, relationships with loved ones were damaged, and the harm now carries over to our children as many of us have become so overprotective that it strains the relationship with our kids", Kent Kilgore, a survivor of Strauss' abuse, said in a statement to The Associated Press.

University president Michael Drake said an independent investigation was launched into the allegations after they were brought to the university's attention a year ago.

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Steve Estey, an attorney for some of the former students who are suing, said: "If OSU refuses to take responsibility we will continue with civil litigation and put this in front of a jury for 12 people to judge their actions".

The instances of abuse often involved inappropriate touching of a students' genitals during exams in ways that weren't medically useful.

Mike DiSabato, one of the former athletes who sparked the investigation by coming forward, told NBC News that the report appears to support and bolster his account, adding: "Jim Jordan knew, they all knew, and they did nothing".

A now-dead Ohio State team doctor sexually abused at least 177 male students over almost two decades, and university officials did little to stop him, according to a new report released today.

The abuse continued at a private "men's clinic" that Strauss had opened off campus with the approval of the school's Associate Vice President of Health Sciences and Academic Affairs at the time. Some also said they were ogled in locker rooms where athletes joked about Strauss' behavior, referring to him with nicknames like "Dr. Jelly Paws".

A former soccer player told investigators that Strauss would sometimes run a single lap just as the team was finishing up practice.

Other complaints against Strauss allege that he fondled male students to the point of sexual arousal and showered alongside male students at the campus athletics facility.

A statement released by Jordan's communications director Ian Fury said his boss was pleased the investigation has concluded and that OSU is offering free counseling for victims affected by Strauss' actions.

"Many of the students felt that Strauss" behavior was an "open secret, ' as it appeared to them that their coaches, trainers, and other team physicians were fully aware of Strauss' activities, and yet few seemed inclined to do anything to stop it", the report states.

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