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Verdicts & Settlements

Ohio State University to Pay $40.9m Settlement to Men Abused by Former College Physician

— May 10, 2020

The late physician Richard Strauss, who worked at OSU for decades, is suspected of sexually assaulting dozens of men between 1978 and the late 1990s.

The Ohio State University will pay $40.9 million to 162 men who were abused by a former college physician.

According to CNN, the settlement intends to resolve 12 lawsuits related to Dr. Richard Strauss.

Strauss, who worked at the university for several decades, is suspected of having abused at least 177 students between 1978 and 1998. Reports commissioned by OSU suggest that some faculty were aware of complaints against Strauss but never launched an intensive investigation.

In a statement, OSU President Michael V. Drake said the nearly $41 million fund is meant to provide some measure of recompense to men failed by the university.

“The university of decades ago failed these individuals—our students, alumni and members of the Buckeye community,” Drake said. “Nothing can undo the wrongs of the past, but we must do what we can today to work toward restorative justice

“Or focus,” Drake added, “will always be on the survivors. We know it took great courage for them to come forward, and we are grateful.”

Each survivor will receive varying awards, based on severity of Strauss’s misconduct in their respective case.

Strauss faced a university investigation in the late 1990s, by which time he’d allegedly victimized nearly 200 men. He committed suicide in 2005. Image via Wikimedia Commons/user:Pkd2016. (CCA-BY-4.0-).

“Funds in the settlement will be allocated on an individual basis, based on the harm and damages experienced by each survivor,” the university said in a separate statement. USA Today reports that allocations will be determined by a “special master” able to evaluate sexual-trauma claims. That “special master” will have no connection to Ohio State University and will be assisted by a three-person panel, selected by the university and plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Richard Schulte, an attorney for some of Strauss’s victims, said evaluations help account for vastly different experiences of abuse.

“The process will account for wide variations in abuse and provide a pathway for survivor healing,” Schulte said in a joint statement with the university.

Sports Illustrated notes that the university’s announcement doesn’t indicate how much of the $41 million fund will go to the survivors’ legal team.

There are still at least a half-dozen unsettled lawsuits pending against the university. Sports Illustrated reports that attorneys involved in the still-pending cases say that Ohio State isn’t negotiating in good faith—claims the school emphatically denies.

Some of the plaintiffs, adds S.I., want far more money—enough to ensure that Ohio State, along with universities across the country, don’t make the same mistakes again. They’ve used the example of Michigan State University’s $500 million settlement for the 500-plus female victims of sports physician Larry Nassar as a benchmark.

However, Ohio State has stressed that it’s putting forth a good-faith effort to ensure that other Strauss victims have their stories heard.

“Ohio State continues to participate in good faith in the mediation process with the survivors involved in the remaining lawsuits, and remains committed to a resolution with plaintiffs, including a monetary resolution,” the school said in a statement.


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Ohio State University will pay $41 million to settle lawsuits over doctor’s abuse

Ohio State will put $40.9 million in fund for 162 victims of sexual abuse

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