Attorney for Ohio State Athletes Making Sexual Abuse Allegations Says Many Are Former Football Players

Lawyer Michael Wright

An attorney preparing a lawsuit against Ohio State University on behalf of more than 50 former athletes who claim they were sexually abused by a team physician told The Associated Press on Saturday that most of those clients were football players, including some who went on to play in the NFL.

Dayton attorney Michael Wright said the abuse happened during required physical examinations at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and during treatment for injuries and ailments at Strauss’ off-campus clinic and his home, where he insisted they be seen.

The physician, Dr. Richard Strauss, killed himself in 2005, nearly a decade after he was allowed to retire with honors.

A 232-page investigative report released Friday found that Strauss sexually abused at least 177 male students, but made only one specific reference to football players while listing how many athletes from each team were abused. That list says three football players were interviewed.

Wright said he was not aware that any of his clients were interviewed by investigators from the Seattle-based Perkins Coie law firm.

An Ohio State spokesman declined to comment.

Investigators found that Strauss’ abuse went on from 1979 to 1997 and took place at various locations across campus, including examining rooms, locker rooms, showers and saunas. Strauss contrived, among other things, to get young men to strip naked, and he groped them sexually.

The report concluded that scores of Ohio State personnel knew of complaints and concerns about Strauss’ conduct as early as 1979 but failed for years to investigate or take meaningful action.

“It was known he was seeing these athletes and there were issues,” Wright said.

Wright said he plans to file the lawsuit late next week and, for now, that his clients prefer to remain anonymous.

“Clearly they had good relationships with the university, and they believe the university will either retaliate or significantly distance themselves from these athletes,” Wright said.

Some of Strauss’ victims remain angry in the aftermath of the report’s release about how Ohio State has treated them.

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Source: USA Today