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Report: Ohio State leaders knew about team doctor's sexual abuse of at least 177 students

An independent investigation completed by Ohio State has found that Dr. Richard Strauss, who died in 2005, abused at least 177 male students between 1979 and 1997.
Credit: AP
FILE – This undated file photo shows a photo of Dr. Richard Strauss, an Ohio State University team doctor employed by the school from 1978 until his 1998 retirement. Investigators say over 100 male students were sexually abused by Strauss who died in 2005. The university released findings Friday, May 17, 2019, from a law firm that investigated claims about Richard Strauss for the school. (Ohio State University via AP, File)

Dr. Richard Strauss, who was employed at Ohio State from 1978-1998, abused at least 177 male students an, according to an independent investigation released by the school on Friday.

The release of Ohio State's findings marks the end of a year-long investigation into the conduct of Strauss, who committed suicide in 2005. Strauss served as a member of the school's clinical faculty and medical staff, including a stint as the athletics team physician from 1981-1995 before resigning from the medical staff in 1994 and remaining on the faculty until his retirement as professor emeritus in 1998.

According to the investigation, university personnel had knowledge of complaints against Strauss as early as 1979, but failed act in a meaningful way. The claims against him span from 1979-1997 and include athletes from at least 16 sports, as well as Strauss' work at the student health center and his off-campus medical office in Columbus, which he established in 1996.

More than 440 former students and university staff were interviewed concerning the investigation, which was conducted by Perkins Coie LLP. The law firm is currently investigating to what extent Strauss may have examined high school aged students.

Two lawsuits against Ohio State stemming from the claims have been filed by dozens of plaintiffs alleging that school officials were aware of concerns about Strauss' behavior but failed to act. Those lawsuits are currently in mediation.

In a letter sent to students, faculty and staff, Ohio State President Michael Drake called the findings "shocking and painful to comprehend."

"On behalf of the university, we offer our profound regret and sincere apologies to each person who endured Strauss’ abuse," he wrote. "Our institution’s fundamental failure at the time to prevent this abuse was unacceptable — as were the inadequate efforts to thoroughly investigate complaints raised by students and staff members."