Review: Board ignored evidence about Ohio State doc’s abuse

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The State Medical Board of Ohio ignored credible evidence in 1996 that an Ohio
State University team doctor had been sexually abusing male students through genital exams for years and
missed a chance to stop him, the governor and a review panel announced Friday.
A state working group that reviewed the old investigation said it couldn’t determine why the medical
board never took action against Richard Strauss or reported the now-deceased doctor to law enforcement.
One former employee said the investigation fell into a "black hole," according the group’s
report.
"This whole story is disgusting," Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said. "This whole story is a
failure of people to do what’s right."
Lawyers suing Ohio State over Strauss’ sexual misconduct say they now represent over 300 accusers whose
allegations span from 1979 to 1997 — nearly his entire career at the university. A law firm that
separately investigated allegations for the school concluded officials learned of concerns about Strauss
throughout his tenure but did little to stop him .
Based on the state working group’s findings and recommendations, DeWine is asking the medical board to
identify whether there are any licensed Ohio doctors who knew or suspected Strauss’ misconduct and
should have reported it but didn’t. He also wants the board to review about 1,500 closed cases from the
past 25 years that involved sexual assault allegations against medical staff to see if any others
involved evidence of criminal misconduct that was ignored.
"I shudder to think there could be other predator physicians still practicing in the state of Ohio
or other places in our country," DeWine said. "I shudder to think that there could be other
doctors out there who, because their case may have gone into a black hole, are still allowed to
practice. We need to find that out."
The medical board said it welcomed the working group’s recommendations and is reviewing the findings but
doesn’t know what went into the decision-making in 1996.
"Today we have a completely different medical board, a different investigations and enforcement
team, with different processes in place to prevent this from ever happening again," board
spokeswoman Tessie Pollock said. "We also have knowledge of predators and how they groom their
victims. We’re looking at this retrospectively with 20/20 vision because we have learned so much from
the survivor community."
Messages seeking comment were left for the eight surviving members of the 1996 medical board. DeWine
noted that because of the board’s process, not all members might have been aware of the Strauss
investigation back then.
Details of the investigation had remained confidential by law until Friday, when the board released some
documents about it.
That investigation sat inactive while Strauss was able to retire from the university in 1998 with an
honorary status, keep a medical license and move to California, which he filed documents to open a men’s
clinic.
He died in 2005. No one has publicly defended him.