Strauss died in 2005. He was employed by the university from 1978-98 but was suspended from his work as a treating physician in January 1996 after a patient accused Strauss of fondling him during a genital examination. Strauss continued in his role as a tenured faculty member, though. The school said it has initiated the process to revoke the faculty emeritus status that was conferred upon Strauss.
“On behalf of the university, we offer our profound regret and sincere apologies to each person who endured Strauss’ abuse,” Ohio State president Michael Drake wrote in a message to the campus community on Friday. “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.
“This independent investigation was completed because of the strength and courage of survivors. We thank each of them for their willingness to share their experiences.”
According to the report, “Strauss’ acts of abuse ranged from the overt – such as fondling to the point of erection and ejaculation – to more subtle acts of abuse that were masked with a pretextual medical purpose – for example, requiring a student-patient to strip completely naked to purportedly ‘assess’ an orthopedic condition, or asking probing questions about a student-patient’s sexual practices or performance.”
The report was the result of a yearlong investigation by the law firm the Perkins, Coie LLP and involved interviews with more than 500 former students and university employees.
“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, one of the victims, said in a statement.
Three groups of plaintiffs have sued Ohio State, and the school says it’s actively participating in a mediation process.
“We hope that the report will force OSU to take responsibility for its failure to protect young students,” Steve Estey, an attorney representing some of the victims, said in a statement. “If OSU refuses to take responsibility the we will continue with civil litigation and put this in front of a jury for the community to judge their actions.”
The Washington Post