Victims of deceased sports doctor Richard Strauss are scheduled to address Ohio State University’s board of trustees this week to share their stories of sexual abuse.
Brian Garrett, a former Ohio State student who said he witnessed and experienced sexual abuse by Strauss, submitted a request Friday on behalf of a group of former Ohio State students seeking to address the board. Garrett wrote that group members hoped to share their experiences of sexual abuse as well as discuss resources for victims, policies to prevent the abuse they experienced and other campus culture changes to protect students.
Ohio State officials said the university and board had accepted the victims’ request and will allot 20 minutes for them to speak, the amount Garrett requested, during the upcoming full board meeting Friday.
The university is in the midst of an ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by Strauss, conducted by Seattle-based law firm Perkins Coie. Nearly 150 former students have come forward with firsthand accounts of sexual misconduct by Strauss, who worked at Ohio State from 1978 to 1998. Strauss died by suicide in 2005.
“We are suffering, and so are many others, due to inaction by the university,” Garret wrote in his request to the board. “Some of us have suffered in silence for 22 years or more, thinking we were the only ones. As the board knows, we are not alone. There are hundreds of us.”
Ohio State spokesman Ben Johnson said in an emailed statement that the university has sought to find out what happened during Strauss’ time with the university and pledges to appropriately address the investigation’s findings.
“The stories so many have shared about Richard Strauss are deeply concerning, and we are grateful for these individuals’ willingness to speak publicly,” Johnson said. “It is important and very much appreciated.”
“I’m glad that they accepted my request. That’s a start,” Garrett, a plaintiff in one of two lawsuits against Ohio State pertaining to the Strauss matter, told The Dispatch on Friday. “Now, it’s time for them to do what’s right. They need to start out with taking ownership and accountability and then go from there.”