Ohio Medical Board Failed To Act On Evidence Of Abuse By Richard Strauss

Posted on:

< < Back to

The Ohio Medical Board had credible evidence of sexual misconduct by longtime Ohio State doctor Richard Strauss in 1996 but didn’t inform law enforcement, a review by a state working group found.

Gov. Mike DeWine established the working group in May specifically to review State Medical Board records from a 1996 investigation into Strauss, which ultimately resulted in no discipline for the doctor. Those records are generally shielded from public view, but there are exceptions for state agencies.

Strauss worked as a team doctor and a physician in Ohio State’s Student Health Services during his nearly 20-year tenure at the school. An independent investigation of Strauss’ conduct released earlier this year found at least 177 people faced abuse as early as 1979.

Attorneys for the accusers, who have filed several class-action lawsuits against the university, contend they’ve found more than 300 victims.

In the wake of that report, DeWine signed an executive order to establish the working group. His order called for members to investigate whether the Medical Board “thoroughly and appropriately investigated and responded to allegations of sexual abuse.” DeWine also urged state lawmakers to eliminate the statute of limitations on rape.

Although investigators working on the Strauss report were able to see records from the Medical Board’s disciplinary procedures, they weren’t able to make their findings public. When the Strauss report was released in May, the portions referencing the board were blacked out.

DeWine’s working group brought together state and local law enforcement officials, medical experts and victims’ advocates, and was chaired by Tom Stickrath, director of Ohio’s Department of Public Safety. As a governmental agency, the working group was allowed to review documents state law otherwise requires remain confidential.

Ohio State investigated Strauss in 1996 after several students reported sexual misconduct at the health center. As a result, Strauss was removed from the Athletics Department and health center, but remained a tenured faculty member until his voluntary retirement. The State Medical Board investigated Strauss that same year, but never disciplined the doctor.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien, a member of the working group, said he reviewed the Medical Board material for any potential cover-ups. His office has so far filed no criminal indictments in the Strauss case.

Strauss committed suicide in 2005.