Ohio State doc­tor’s fam­ily ‘seeks the truth’

Al­le­ga­tions against team physi­cian, now dead, date to 1970s

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - NATION | WORLD -

COLUM­BUS, Ohio — The fam­ily of a for­mer Ohio State Uni­ver­sity team doc­tor ac­cused by ath­letes of sex­ual mis­con­duct says it is “shocked and sad­dened” by the al­le­ga­tions and is co­op­er­at­ing with the school’s in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The Colum­bus Dis­patch in a story pub­lished on­line Satur­day said the state­ment was emailed by Scott Strauss. He’s the son of the late Dr. Richard Strauss, who killed him­self in 2005 at age 67. The state­ment said Strauss’ fam­ily learned from news re­ports about the al­le­ga­tions that ath­letes were fon­dled by Strauss dur­ing med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tions. The al­le­ga­tions date back to the 1970s.

Scott Strauss didn’t re­turn mes­sages Satur­day or those pre­vi­ously left with him by the As­so­ci­ated Press.

The state­ment said “along with the al­leged vic­tims, our fam­ily seeks the truth.”

In­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tors are re­view­ing al­le­ga­tions against Strauss by men from 14 sports and are also look­ing into his work for stu­dent health ser­vices and at his off-cam­pus med­i­cal clinic.

Ohio State has said more than 150 for­mer ath­letes and wit­nesses have been in­ter­viewed so far, and the school has urged any­one with in­for­ma­tion to contact the in­ves­ti­ga­tors from the Seat­tle­based law firm Perkins Coie.

The uni­ver­sity said in a state­ment Thurs­day that it is “fo­cused on un­cov­er­ing what may have hap­pened dur­ing this era, what uni­ver­sity lead­ers at the time may have known, and whether any re­sponse at the time was ap­pro­pri­ate.”

In in­ter­views, seven for­mer ath­letes and a for­mer nurs­ing stu­dent shared de­tailed al­le­ga­tions against the doc­tor who is only now un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The eight men, in­clud­ing three who didn’t want their names made pub­lic, said they want to see any­one who ig­nored con­cerns about Strauss held ac­count­able and hope to en­sure some­thing sim­i­lar doesn’t hap­pen to others.

They de­scribed how Strauss fon­dled them dur­ing med­i­cal ex­ams and ogled naked young men, some­times show­er­ing among ath­letes mul­ti­ple times a day for no ap­par­ent rea­son or perch­ing him­self on a stool to stare. Some said Strauss groped them bare­handed dur­ing phys­i­cals, had them drop their pants even while ex­am­in­ing them for a cough or heart­burn, and bad­gered stu­dents to go home with him.

Two of the ath­letes who spoke to the AP said Strauss wasn’t stopped even af­ter they com­plained — one to a coach and an­other to a school physi­cian. Sev­eral of the wrestlers have said for­mer as­sis­tant coach Jim Jor­dan, now a pow­er­ful Repub­li­can con­gress­man from Ohio, was aware of the abuse. Jor­dan has in­sisted he did not know.

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