Ohio State to Pay $40.9M Settlement over Ex-Team Doctor Richard Strauss' Abuse

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2020

COLLEGE PARK, MD - FEBRUARY 23:  The Ohio State Buckeyes logo on a sweat shirt before a college basketball game against the Maryland Terrapins at the XFinity Center on February 23, 2019 in College Park, Maryland.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Ohio State University announced Friday that it reached a $40.9 million settlement with 162 survivors of sexual abuse from university-employed doctor Richard Strauss from 1978 to '98.

OSU was facing 12 lawsuits related to Strauss' alleged abuse, and after initially announcing in March that it had reached a monetary settlement with roughly half of the claimants, it made the monetary value official Friday.

Strauss was found to have sexually abused at least 177 former Ohio State students by an independent investigation in 2019.

According to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), the lawsuits included former Ohio State wrestler Mike DiSabato, whose allegations against Strauss two years ago led to the investigation.

Ohio State President Michael V. Drake said the following about the settlement Friday:

"The university of decades ago failed these individuals—our students, alumni and members of the Buckeye community. Nothing can undo the wrongs of the past, but we must do what we can today to work toward restorative justice. Our focus will always be on the survivors. We know it took great courage for them to come forward, and we are grateful."

The plaintiffs' lead negotiator, Rick Schulte, also released a statement on the settlement:

"Working with Ohio State, we established an independent confidential process to evaluate each claim individually. The process will account for wide variations in abuse and provide a pathway for survivor healing. One hundred percent of 162 survivors in this settlement decided against further litigation and agreed to participate. The participation rate speaks to the quality of this settlement!"

Ohio State noted that the individual settlements will be allocated "based on the harm and damages experienced by each survivor."

The investigation determined that Strauss sexually abused many male athletes "at campus athletic facilities, the student health center, his off-campus men's clinic and his home," per the Associated Press.

Strauss died in 2005 at the age of 67.