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Richard Strauss Accusers Want Mediation With Ohio State

Brian Garrett at his home in Powell, Ohio. Garrett is one of the lead plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Ohio State.
Mike Householder
Associated Press
Brian Garrett at his home in Powell, Ohio.

Two former students who say they suffered abuse at the hands of former Ohio State physician Richard Strauss are calling on the university to enter mediation.

The letter, sent to university trustees and the entire Ohio General Assembly, criticizes the school for attempting to dismiss their class-action lawsuit. One of the accusers, Brian Garrett, says he does not believe the eventual report from independent investigators will make recommendations or amends.

“This waiting until the report comes out is just mentally exhausting and taxing for all the victims” Garrett explained, “and we want to go to the table and get resolution, and we’d like it sooner than later.”

An investigation by Seattle law firm Perkins Coie found 150 first-hand accounts of misconduct by Strauss, who worked at Ohio State from the 1970s-90s and also maintained an off-campus clinic. Investigators said they expected to conclude fact-finding this fall.

Garrett is the lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against the university. A different case has been filed by another group of people accusing Strauss of abuse. Dozens of accusers claim that university employees knew about and ignored reports of abuse.

“So the question is, did OSU know? And there’s more than enough evidence out there to demonstrate that they knew,” Garrett contends. “At this point why are we waiting on a report? All it does is string this out.”

In an emailed statement, a university spokesman said the investigation has been twofold.

"First, [to] uncover what happened, and, second, to determine what the university and its leaders at the time knew," it said. "The independent Strauss investigation will be over soon, and the university will share the findings and develop the appropriate response and action at that time. The investigation is of the highest priority to the university."

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.