US university doctor sexually abused at least 177 students: investigation

2019-05-19 06:58
iStock

iStock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

An Ohio State University team doctor sexually abused at least 177 male students over nearly two decades and was never disciplined at the US school despite reports of his actions, an investigation found Friday.

Richard Strauss, who died in 2005, committed the abuse while employed at the school from 1978 to 1998, and university staff were made aware of claims as early as 1979, according to a 12-month independent probe.

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.

In all, more than 440 former students and university staff believed to have information related to allegations involving Strauss were interviewed for the investigation.

The victims included school athletes as well as other students who saw Strauss at the university health center and at an off-campus private medical office.

Strauss established the private medical office in 1996 after he was suspended from his activities as a treating physician at the school but remained a tenured faculty member.

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

"The findings are shocking and painful to comprehend," Drake said as he made the redacted investigation report public.

"On behalf of the university, we offer our profound regret and sincere apologies to each person who endured Strauss's 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."

'Escalated over time' 

The abuse, which included "excessive" genital exams and fondling, "escalated over time" as students underwent a series of examinations, according to the report.

"We find this range of acts 'abusive' because they exploited the power Strauss enjoyed purely by virtue of his status in the doctor-patient relationship," it said.

Perkins Coie, the law firm that conducted the investigation, said it is also examining whether Strauss may have examined students of high school age while serving at the university.

While Strauss resigned from university medical staff at the end of 1994, he remained on the faculty until retiring as professor emeritus in 1998, an honorary status the university is revoking.

The university is covering the costs of counseling for those affected by the abuse.

Drake said his school has implemented safeguards since Strauss's departure, including a sexual violence consultation team, a centralized anonymous hotline, mandatory reporting of sexual assault for all university employees and mandatory sexual prevention education for incoming students, faculty and staff.

"Issues of sexual misconduct and abuse challenge our society in real and important ways," he added.

"It is our collective responsibility to remain ever-vigilant and work to ensure that this can never happen again."

Read more on:    united states  |  sexual abuse
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.