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OSU President Defends Strauss Investigation As Feds Launch Title IX Inquiry

Aerial view of The Oval on Ohio State University's campus
Ohio State University

Ohio State University President Michael Drake hopes the school learns how to prevent future abuse from the investigation into a former team doctor accused of molesting students.  Meanwhile federal officials have opened their own inquiry into the school’s handling of the scandal.

The U.S. Department of Education has launched a Title IX investigation into Ohio State’s handling of sexual abuse allegations against former wrestling team doctor Richard Strauss. The gears of the school’s own investigation have been turning since April, and university president Michael Drake insists they’re working in good faith.

“We don’t know what happened in the past or what happened at other places, but I think it’s demonstrated that we’re really interested in learning what happened, and then trying to make our best decision going forward,” Drake said on 89.7 NPR News' All Sides with Ann Fisher.

He emphasizes the difficulty of looking into allegations that spans decades and happened decaded ago.  Drake hopes the investigation helps prevent future abuse.

“One of the things we’ll be most interested in is learning what we can about what the early warning signs might have been 20 years ago and what we might be able to do today that’s better to help protect people better in the future,” he said.

Sexual abuse scandals have rocked Penn State and Michigan State in recent years, and Drake believes other institutions are likely to face the same.

“It couldn’t be that these things that couldn’t ever happen, happen once, and then happen again, and then happen again, and then happen again in these big ways,” he says. “So there, we’ve seen with the MeToo movement, once people start sharing what’s happened to them there are lots of MeToos.”

School officials expect to provide an update on the investigation at a trustees meeting at the end of this month.