George Clooney Will Produce Docuseries About Ohio State Sexual Abuse Scandal

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2021

Clouds pass above The Ohio State University's football stadium, Saturday, May 18, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Richard Strauss, a now-dead Ohio State team doctor sexually abused at least 177 male students from the 1970s through the 1990s, and numerous university officials got wind of what was going on over the years but did little or nothing to stop him, according to a report released by the school Friday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
John Minchillo/Associated Press

George Clooney's production company is partnering with Sports Illustrated to create a docuseries on the sexual abuse scandal at Ohio State, according to the Hollywood Reporter's Rick Porter.

The project is based on a story by Sports Illustrated's Jon Wertheim published in October.

Beyond laying out the allegations against Dr. Richard Strauss, a former sports doctor at Ohio State, Wertheim raised questions about why the school wasn't facing the same kind of sustained scrutiny placed on other schools in similar situations.

He also noted how Ohio State reached a settlement with Strauss' victims that paid them far less than the settlement Michigan State reached with victims of Larry Nassar.

In May 2019, Ohio State released the results of an independent investigation into the allegations of abuse committed by Strauss.

Per the Columbus Dispatch, the investigation found that nearly half of the 177 victims identified were abused within 10 years after Strauss was hired in 1978. It also found that the abuse dated back to as early as 1979.

The investigation found that complaints against Strauss had been made by members of the men's fencing team in November 1994. Dr. John Lombardo, the former medical director of the Ohio State Sports and Medicine Program, wrote a letter responding to complaints and referenced "a decade of rumors" surrounding Strauss.

Upon learning of two fondling complaints in January 1995, the director of Ohio State's University Health Services at the time, Ted Grace, mandated Strauss to have a chaperone during exams. The complaints didn't preclude him from receiving a positive employment evaluation.

Months after Ohio State published the outcome of the investigation, the school faced another lawsuit that brought the total number of victims to roughly 350.

Wertheim's story and the overall reporting on the matter raised questions about whether Ohio State adequately looked into claims against Strauss prior to his retirement in 1998. Strauss killed himself in 2005.