COLUMBUS: Victims of a now-dead Ohio State team doctor are reacting with shock, grief and anger at investigative findings documenting a heinous pattern of sexual abuse that many of them say they experienced as young men and then worked for decades to forget.
Their reactions follow the university’s release of a report on Friday that found Dr Richard Strauss groped, ogled or otherwise sexually mistreated at least 177 male students. The report could cost Ohio State dearly by corroborating lawsuits brought against it by a multitude of victims.
Former nursing student Brian Garrett said he worked for a short time at an off-campus clinic Strauss opened after he was ousted at Ohio State in the late 1990s. But Garrett quit after witnessing abuse by Strauss and then experiencing it himself.
The investigation, he said, left him angrier than before. “We knew that it was systemic and it had been reported,” Garrett said on Friday.
“It’s even more widespread than we knew.” Garrett thinks the abuse carried out by Strauss across more than a dozen sports and at numerous locations even surpasses that of Larry Nassar, of Michigan State University, who was accused of molesting at least 250 women and girls and is serving what amounts to a life sentence.
“We did not get to put him on trial. The police did not get to investigate. That’s why it’s worse than the MSU case,” Garrett said. “He took the easy way out.” Strauss killed himself in 2005 nearly a decade after he was allowed to retire with honours. He was 67. No one has publicly defended Strauss, though family members have said they were shocked by the allegations.
The whistleblower credited with prompting the investigation said in a statement he feels “vindicated” but has mixed feelings about the law firm’s findings released Friday.
Mike DiSabato, a former Ohio State wrestler, met with school officials in March 2018 to discuss the abuse that he and other athletes suffered at the hands of Strauss, prompting the school to hire Seattle-based Perkins Coie to conduct an investigation.
Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2019