Lawsuits are piling up over Ohio State University’s handling of sexual abuse complaints against Dr. Richard Strauss. On Wednesday, 37 former students, mostly football players and wrestlers, filed a lawsuit, the fourth one in the last two years against the university over its response to sexual assault complaints against the former doctor.
According to The New York Times, the civil rights lawsuit alleges that university officials “aided, abetted and actively concealed” complaints of sexual misconduct against Strauss.
The suit mentions the name of Billy Hill, a university athletic trainer who often dismissed the allegations when students complained about Strauss’ inappropriate conduct. Hill died as a result of a heart attack in 1995.
“Now that some football players have come forward, from my perspective, this has gotten a lot more eyes and a lot more interest,” Michael L. Wright, one of the lawyers who filed the lawsuit, told The New York Times.
The suit comes approximately one week after the university released a report from independent investigators, confirming that Strauss sexually abused at least 177 former students during his employment at the university from 1978 to 1998.
Investigators from Perkins Coie further confirmed that university officials had information about Strauss’ misconduct as early in 1979, but did not investigate his actions and failed to report his misconduct to law enforcement.
“On behalf of the university, we offer our profound regret and sincere apologies to each person who endured Strauss’ abuse,” Ohio State president Michael V. Drake wrote in a message to the community after releasing the report.
“Our institution’s fundamental failure at the time to prevent this abuse was unacceptable — as were the inadequate efforts to thoroughly investigate complaints raised by students and staff members.”
Earlier this month, three members of the wrestling team and two other patients sued the university for not doing enough to prevent incidents of sexual assault from taking place on campus.