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Probe Shows State Medical Board Had Evidence Against OSU Team Doctor But Failed To Act

Aug 31, 2019

Governor Mike DeWine (L) and his deputy legal counsel Sarah Ackman, at a Statehouse news conference Friday. The governor announced the Ohio State Medical Board did nothing about a report alerting them to sexual misconduct by ex-Ohio State University doctor Richard Strauss.
Credit cleveland.com

The State Medical Board of Ohio says its handling of sexual misconduct complaints has "substantially advanced" since its 1996 investigation of an Ohio State University team doctor who was accused of abusing male students but never disciplined. 

Governor Mike DeWine says a working group that reviewed that investigation found investigators had credible evidence about now-deceased doctor Richard Strauss but never took action:

 DeWine says the allegations arose when Strauss first tried to complain about another doctor:

Investigative records show that Strauss denied he inappropriately touched a student who complained about him. In a response to the complaint, Strauss said he'd done a "very thorough examination" following high standards. He suggested the student invented the complaint to cover up an embarrassing medical finding. Strauss also said he had treated thousands of men for problems such as genital issues and sexually transmitted diseases, and none complained. 

The board says it's reviewing the findings and recommendations released Friday.  DeWine says officials have asked the board to investigate whether doctors who knew about Strauss' alleged activities are still practicing: 

The board's president in 1996 says he's not aware of that or any other case of that nature being swept under the rug.  Charles Stienecker says he wasn't aware of Strauss until he read allegations in the newspaper after the university announced an investigation last year. Stienecker says only two board members would have known about the investigation unless it advanced to a hearing. Those members are deceased.  The group couldn't determine why no action was taken. 

An attorney for some of the men suing Ohio State University over decades-old sexual abuse by Strauss says it's "deeply disturbing" the board mishandled the investigation and missed a chance to stop him. Adele Kimmel  says the findings show the institutions and people that were supposed to protect students failed them. 

Strauss is accused of sexual misconduct against hundreds of young men between 1979 and 1997. Strauss retired in 1998 with honorary status. He took his own life in 2005. No one has come forward to defend him.