Responsibility: Evidence backs up charges against Ohio State University
Ohio State University’s energy and openness in investigating allegations of sexual misbehavior by a long-dead physician for some athletic teams have been commendable.
That may have been a sea change, however, compared to the attitude when the doctor was alive and working at OSU.
Dr. Richard Strauss, who committed suicide in 2005, has been accused of sexual abuse at some of the institutions of higher education at which he worked. OSU, where he served as an athletic team physician from 1981-95, is among them. Strauss also worked for the university’s student health service from 1994-96.
Upon hearing allegations against Strauss several months ago, OSU hired an outside investigator who has interviewed scores of former students and university personnel. Multiple accusations against Strauss have been made.
As has been noted, former members of the school’s wrestling team and at least one former coach have had more to say. For a period of years, the building, locker room and showers used by the wrestling team were a haven for men not connected to the team to leer at athletes while they showered, proposition some of them and, sometimes, engaged in sex, according to the reports.
Last week, four former OSU wrestlers filed a lawsuit against the university. They accuse officials there of ignoring multiple complaints about “rampant sexual misconduct” by Strauss.
According to a report published in the Columbus Dispatch, there is some evidence to back up the lawsuit’s allegations. It is a letter an OSU student wrote to a health center official during the 1990s, regarding Strauss.
If sexual misconduct was tolerated at OSU during the past, whether by Strauss or others, those responsible should be held responsible. Civil lawsuits can accomplish a great deal in that regard, but it may be that crimes were committed.
Again, current OSU officials appear to be doing the right thing. But it has become clear criminal investigations by those with the ability to prosecute are needed, too.