Ohio State University to pay $41 million to settle sex abuse lawsuits naming former wrestling team doctor

Ohio State University reaches settlement with sexual abuse survivors.

By: Tim Bissell | 3 years ago
Ohio State University to pay $41 million to settle sex abuse lawsuits naming former wrestling team doctor
Ohio State University logo on a basketball court. IMAGE/ZUMA Wire.

[CW: The following story details reports of sexual abuse on a university campus and in a medical setting]

Dr. Richard Strauss, who died by suicide in 2005, has been accused of sexual abuse by hundreds of former students and student athletes who attended Ohio State University (OSU) between 1979 and 1997.

Many of Strauss’ accusers were once members of OSU’s wrestling team, for which Strauss was the team doctor.

An investigation into Strauss, by a law firm, uncovered about 1,500 accusations of misconduct that were reported to the university during the time Strauss was employed by OSU. Those incidents allegedly took place at campus athletic facilities, the student health center, an off-campus men’s clinic and Strauss’ home.

In March OSU settled 12 lawsuits brought forward by 162 men, all accusing Strauss of sexual abuse and mistreatment. On Friday it was announced that OSU will pay out around $41 million to those plaintiffs.

One of the plaintiffs is Mike DiSabato, a former OSU wrestler, who was one of the first to make public accusations against Strauss. DiSabato also accused OSU of covering up the abuse.

DiSabato is one of a handful of wrestlers who claims to have reported Strauss’ abuse to an assistant coach who failed to take the accusations seriously. That coach was Jim Jordan, who is now a U.S representative for Ohio’s 4th congressional district. Jordan, a top ranking Republican, has denied these allegations on multiple occasions.

“It’s been a long and bitter battle, and I’m looking forward to healing. … I’m proud that we stood up,” said DiSabato (per Sports Illustrated).

SI reported that, in addition to the settlement fund, OSU will pay $500,000 for the costs of administering the settlement.

Multiple lawsuits against OSU over Strauss remain unsettled. Earlier this month one of those lawsuits was given the green-light to proceed after mediation between the university and plaintiffs broke down. In that case the plaintiffs accused OSU of not negotiating in good faith.

Survivors of sexual assault can find support via the following organizations:

US – Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)’s National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). RAINN also has an online chat service.

Love is Respect, 1-866-331-9474. They can also be reached via online chat or by texting LOVEIS to 22522.

End Rape on Campus (EROC), 1-424-777-EROC (3762).

Canada – Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime, 1-877-232-2610.

UK and Ireland – UK Says No More.

Rest of the World – International Rape Crisis Hotlines.

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

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