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U.S. Office of Civil Rights investigating Ohio State’s handling of Strauss abuse allegations

The OCR will work to ensure that OSU is promptly responding to allegations in line with Title IX requirements.

On Thursday, the Ohio State University announced that the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has begun investigating the allegations that former OSU physician Dr. Richard Strauss, who died in 2005, sexually abused students in his care.

The OCR oversees enforcement of Title IX, and is therefore looking to ensure that the university is “responding promptly and equitably to complaints and reports by former students.” The OCR’s Cleveland regional office will lead the investigation.

Strauss was employed at Ohio State from the mid-1970s through the 1990s, and reportedly abused hundreds of former students, including many student-athletes, predominantly wrestlers. The OCR will also be investigating whether OSU employees, including coaches, “knew or should have known” about the alleged misconduct.

Gates Garrity-Rokous, vice president and chief compliance officer for Ohio State said in a statement on Thursday, “We welcome the involvement and careful oversight of OCR and look forward to providing any information we can.”

In April, the university announced that an independent investigation into the allegations against Strauss would be led by international law firm Perkins Coie LLP. According to the university, that inquiry is progressing, and additional updates will be presented to the Board of Trustees later this month.

Ohio State also announced that they had retained Columbus law firm Carpenter Lipps & Leland LLP to handle litigation concerning three lawsuits brought against the university concerning sexual abuse allegations against Strauss and former diving instructor William Bohonyi.

To read the full statement from the university, click here.