Dr. Richard Strauss has been accused of abuse by more than 100 people. He committed suicide in 2005
At least 145 people have provided first-hand accounts of sexual misconduct by a former doctor at the Ohio State University team accused of scoring dozens of male athletes and other students during his two decades there.
They are among more than 335 people interviewed by the law firm hired to investigate the allegations raised this year about Dr. Richard Strauss, according to an update by the university's attorney that was read Thursday before a committee of state custodians. Ohio by Provost Bruce McPheron.
People interviewed by Perkins Coie, based in Seattle, have so far included athletic staff, health centers and human resources, as well as administrators from that time period, although some key witnesses have already died, according to the letter.
The team has searched 525 boxes of college records for the relevant materials, and researchers say the number is likely to double as researchers continue to track down decades-old information from newspapers and people.
"The significant passage of time that has taken place since the Strauss administration at the university brings with it the additional challenge of scattered witnesses who must first be identified, then placed and then willing to cooperate," McPheron said.
Accusations dating from 1979 to 1997 now involve male athletes from at least 16 sports, in addition to Strauss' work at the student health center and his off-campus medical office. The researchers are also reviewing whether the university officials adequately responded to any concerns raised about Strauss during his tenure, and whether Strauss examined the high school students.
A deadline to complete the nearly 5-month investigation has not been set, but lawyers estimate that their research efforts could be completed this fall if new avenues of investigation do not emerge.
Some of the trustees of the Audit and Compliance Committee are also part of a working group that oversees the investigation.
"It's a very independent process, extremely complete," said one of them, Trustee John Zeiger, who said the university will be honest about what the investigation concludes.
Some of the doctor's victims are now suing Ohio State University (pictured), alleging that it facilitated the abuse
Strauss committed suicide in 2005. His relatives have said they were surprised by the accusations and want to know the truth.
Many of the accusers who have spoken publicly claim that Strauss sought them out or performed unnecessary genital examinations. Some of them are plaintiffs in three related lawsuits filed against the school.
It is also the subject of an investigation by the Office of Civil Rights of the US Department of Education. UU., Which examines whether the State of Ohio has responded "quickly and fairly" to student complaints, including allegations that school officials were aware of Strauss's misconduct but did not stop it.
Ohio's chief compliance officer has said the university has responded appropriately since the allegations about Strauss were filed this spring.
Some alumni say they expressed concern about Strauss to university employees since the late 1970s, at the beginning of Strauss's tenure.
The university has a record of at least one documented complaint in 1995, when a director of a student health center said that a student's complaint about being inappropriately touched by Strauss during an exam was the first complaint he received.
Ohio State has urged anyone with information about Strauss to contact the outside investigators of the Perkins Coie law firm, which is not proactively communicating with potential victims for fear they may re-traumatize them.