Ohio State Wrestling Team Abuse Lawsuit
An Ohio State wrestling team abuse lawsuit may be an option for former Ohio State student athletes who were sexually assaulted, abused or harassed by Richard Strauss. In April 2018, the university an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Richard Strauss, a former wrestling team doctor.
Former student-athletes affected by the sexual misconduct of Richard Strauss may be able to pursue a claim and recover compensation with the help of a personal injury attorney.
For more information, contact Attorney Group to learn about your options. We offer free, no obligation consultations. We can help answer your questions, and if you choose to pursue a claim we can connect you with an affiliated attorney who can assist you throughout the legal process.
Have You Seen an Ohio State Wrestling Team Abuse Lawsuit Commercial?
You may have seen an Ohio State wrestling team abuse lawsuit commercial on television and wondered whether you or a loved one were subjected to sexual assault, abuse or harassment and, if so, whether you are eligible to pursue a claim. The purpose of this article is to provide you with additional information about lawsuits and other litigation involving the Ohio State University wrestling team so that you have a better understanding of your options.
Ohio State Wrestling Sexual Abuse and Scandal
In April 2018, the Ohio State University announced an investigation “into allegations of sexual misconduct” related to a former team physician, Dr. Richard Strauss. According to an Ohio State University press release, the alleged acts of sexual misconduct and behavior with student-athletes occurred from the mid-1970s through the late-1990s. The university has notified law enforcement and has appointed an independent investigator to look into “each and every allegation.”
Strauss was hired as an assistant professor at the Ohio State University in 1978 and served as the university’s team doctor from 1981 through 1995. He retired in 1998. Strauss had contact with a number of student athletes, including those who participated in baseball, cheerleading, cross country, fencing, football, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track, volleyball, and wrestling.
Although Strauss killed himself in 2005, several student-athletes claim other members of the athletic department failed to act when complaints about Strauss’ behavior was identified.
According to the university, the investigation includes “outreach to former student-athletes, coaches and others who may have been affected or may have had knowledge of these alleged incidents.”
Confidential reports indicate that male student-athletes in 14 sports and former patients of Student Health Services within the Office of Student Life at Ohio State claim that Strauss committed sexual misconduct while employed at the university.
Former Athletes Claim Abuse Occurred for Years
As reports surfaced regarding allegations against former Ohio State University team doctor Richard Strauss, former athletes have come forward with stories about the doctor’s alleged sexual misconduct. According to interviews conducted by the Associated Press, Strauss’ behavior was either dismissed or ignored by school officials, including a former coach and doctor with the student health center.
Former wrestling coach Russ Hellickson has reportedly claimed to have never ignored abuse of wrestlers and even “expressed concerns” to a school administrator. In the middle of these allegations is Jim Jordan, a U.S. Representative from Ohio and former assistant coach at the university, who has reportedly been accused of “turning a blind eye” to Strauss’ alleged sexual misconduct. Jordan was an assistant wrestling coach from 1987 to 1995 and has stated that he had no idea about any sexual misconduct by Strauss.
Ohio State Sexual Abuse Policy
The Ohio State University requires all employees to report incidents of sexual assault, and state and federal laws require the reporting of sexual assault on or near college campuses. According to university policy, sexual conduct is defined as “[c]onduct of a sexual nature or conduct based on sex or gender that is nonconsensual or has the effect of threatening, intimidating, or coercing a person.” University employees, including faculty and coaches, are obligated to report any and all information associated with incidents of sexual assault immediately.
Effects of Sexual Abuse
According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), survivors of sexual abuse can experience psychological, emotional and physical effects.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), including feelings of anxiety, stress or fear
- Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)
- Substance Abuse
- Dissociation (detachment from reality, which may make it difficult for an individual to function)
- Eating Disorders
- Sleep Disorders
In many cases, perpetrators of sexual abuse are often in a position of trust, such as a family member, teacher or coach. Adults who were sexually abused as children often struggle with guilt, intimacy and relationships, and self-esteem.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse may include sexual contact with a child as well as other actions such as exposing of oneself, sharing obscene images, or taking inappropriate photos or videos of a child.
Physical, behavioral and emotional signs of sexual abuse may be present. Those signs may include:
- Physical – sexually transmitted infections; signs of physical trauma, such as unexplained bleeding, bruising, or blood on sheets or clothing
- Behavioral – inappropriate sexual behavior for the child’s age; bedwetting or soiling the bed, if the child has outgrown these behaviors; not wanting to be left alone or being afraid to be away from primary caregivers; avoiding removing clothes to change or bathe
- Emotional – excessive talk about or knowledge of sexual topics; resuming behaviors that they have grown out of; nightmares or fear of being alone at night; excessive worry or fearfulness
In many cases, those who sexually abuse children are in a position of trust; the majority of sexual assault victims know their abuser or perpetrator.
Ohio State Wrestling Team Abuse Lawsuit Claims
In July 2018, four former Ohio State wrestlers filed a lawsuit against the university claiming that the school failed to address complaints of sexual abuse and harassment “[d]espite being repeatedly informed” of such actions. According to a report by Deadspin, lawyers associated with the case estimate that Richard Strauss “sexually assaulted, abused, battered, molested, and/or harassed 1,500 to 2,500 male students” while working for the Ohio State University athletic department.
Student-athletes at the Ohio State University were reportedly required to undergo physical examinations at least once per season. According to the complaint, Strauss “forced male student athletes to undress from the waist down and submit to invasive and medically unnecessary examinations,” which included touching and fondling as well as other sexual misconduct.
A separate lawsuit was filed on behalf of a fifth, unnamed former Ohio State wrestler who claimed that Strauss sexually abused him on multiple occasions in the 1980s.
Allegations of abuse include sexually harassment and inappropriate touching during examinations. In addition, the plaintiff claims that the coaches at the university were aware of Strauss’ behavior but chose to ignore it.
Lauren A. on May 16, 2016
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Is There an Ohio State Wrestling Team Class Action Lawsuit?
Both lawsuits filed in July 2018 against the Ohio State University are class-action lawsuits filed on behalf of the plaintiffs in the complaints and other individuals who were sexually abused, harassed and molested by Richard Strauss.
According to the complaint, “Strauss used his position of trust and confidence in an abusive manner,” which caused the plaintiffs and other members of the class “to suffer a variety of injuries including but not limited to shock, humiliation, emotional distress and related physical manifestations thereof, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, disgrace, loss of enjoyment of life and negative impacts on their ultimate career and professional prospects.”
Despite complaints issued to university representatives, the concerns and allegations allegedly were not addressed appropriately, therefore violating reporting policies and procedures “in a manner that was reckless, deliberately indifferent, and grossly negligent.”
Ohio State Wrestling Team Abuse Lawsuit News
- July 2018Former wrestlers with the Ohio State University file a lawsuit claiming that the university failed to respond to decades of complaints of sexual misconduct and abuse by Richard Strauss.
- July 2018Former members of the Ohio State wrestling team claim that Jim Jordan was aware of the alleged sexual misconduct during his time as an assistant coach for the wrestling team.
- April 2018Ohio State University announces investigation into sexual abuse allegations against Richard Strauss.
- August 1996Richard Strauss establishes a private medical office in Columbus, Ohio.
- July 1994Richard Strauss becomes a part-time doctor with Ohio State’s Student Health Services.
- July 1981Richard Strauss begins serving as team physician for Ohio State athletics.
- September 1978Richard Strauss joins Ohio State’s medical staff as an attending physician.
How an Ohio State Wrestling Team Abuse Lawsuit Attorney Can Help
Public and private entities that negligently hire, supervise or retain employees who they know or reasonably should suspect pose a danger to others are legally responsible for any injuries caused by their employees’ conduct, including sexual assault and abuse. Survivors are entitled to compensation for damages stemming from physical injuries as well as past, current, and future emotional distress.
People injured as a result of sexual assault may be entitled to compensation for damages, including:
- Medical expenses
- The permanency of the injury
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish
- Loss of income or ability to work
People injured, or the families of those killed, in sexual assaults are encouraged to seek the advice of a personal injury attorney to learn more about their rights and remedies.