CLEVELAND – A federal judge ordered that The Ohio State University and survivors of sexual abuse alleged to have been perpetrated by a university physician, Dr. Richard Strauss, should proceed to mediation.
Judge Michael H. Watson stated in a hearing today that he expects Ohio State to take the victims seriously and to turn the trustees’ words of support into meaningful actions. The litigation was brought forward by former students and student athletes who treated with Dr. Strauss. Strauss worked in the school’s medical clinics and was the doctor for at least 14 of the University’s athletic teams between 1978 and 1998.
“This is a major turning point in efforts by former OSU students who have repeatedly been frustrated by OSU’s efforts to dismiss not only their legal claims but in turn, the legitimacy of the abuse they endured while students at Ohio State,” said Jack Landskroner, one of the victims’ attorneys. “A growing number of students have come forward to tell their stories and ask the school to do better. The courage of these former students has made a difference and the Court’s directive to mediate sends a strong message that it’s time for OSU to work toward righting these wrongs. We look forward to working with OSU to these ends on behalf of our many clients.”
Landskroner encouraged other victims to come forward now that they have the opportunity to be heard.
“There is strength – and results – in numbers. Those harmed by the serial abuse of Dr. Strauss while students at OSU can have a voice and an opportunity to participate in the process of finding a path to resolution with OSU while at the same time helping to assure an end to the institutional indifference to sexual harassment and assault of students on campus. We encourage anyone who has not yet come forward to reach out. Names can be kept confidential where requested, but now is the time to break the silence that so many survivors of this abuse have maintained for decades. It’s time to be heard!”
The case is filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Case No. 2:18-cv-00736-MHW-EPD. Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Jack Landskroner and Hannah Klang of Merriman Legal, LLC; attorneys Scott Elliot Smith and Brian Noethlich of Scott Elliot Smith, LPA; and attorney Adele Kimmel of Public Justice, P.C.