A now-dead Ohio State University sports doctor sexually abused at least 177 male students in what was described as “hazing” — and they claim the college was aware of the “open secret,” according to a new report.
Dr. Richard Strauss — who some accusers nicknamed “Dr. Jelly Paws” — allegedly committed the abuse between 1979 and 1997 during his tenure at Ohio State.
The university commissioned the independent report on Strauss — who took his life in 2005 — after two lawsuits were filed against the school over his alleged misconduct.
The law firm retained by the university interviewed accusers who said Strauss’ behavior was an “open secret” — and believe their coaches, trainers and other team doctors knew about his disturbing exams.
At least 177 students were groped and inappropriately touched during the physical examinations, which he provided for more than a dozen campus teams, the student health center and at his off-campus clinic.
Some victims said they laughed off at the misconduct with other teammates in the locker room — and described the encounters as “hazing” and a “rite of passage,” according to the report.
The report revealed faculty knew about his alleged conduct as early as 1979 but failed to investigate. He retired 18 years later with emeritus status, which the university said it plans to revoke.
Upon releasing the report, university President Michael Drake offered “profound regret and sincere apologies to each person who endured Strauss’ abuse.”
The findings come after the University of Michigan settled with former gymnastics doctor Larry Nasser’s victims for $500 million.
Ohio State said two lawsuits against them involving Strauss’ behavior are headed to mediation. The plaintiffs allege more than 20 school officials, including a coach who is now a congressman — Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, were aware of the late doctor’s abuse.
With Post wires