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New Federal Suit Accuses Ohio State Of Ignoring Abuse By Richard Strauss

Ohio State football helmet
Brynn Anderson

Thirty-seven former Ohio State University athletes, including over two dozen football players, filed a new lawsuit alleging the university disregarded concerns about a team doctor who sexually abused young men for years.

An independent investigation concluded Richard Strauss abused at least 177 young men between 1979 and 1997.

The federal lawsuit, filed Wednesday, echoes claims from dozens of alumni in other lawsuits and identifies only one plaintiff by name: ex-wrestler Michael DiSabato, whose allegations helped prompt the investigation. He declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The athletes' lawyer, Michael Wright, says he agrees with university President Michael Drake's statement that there was an "institutional failure." Drake has publicly apologized.

No one has publicly defended Strauss.

The lawsuit arrived just before a committee of Ohio State trustees votes Thursday on revoking the emeritus status of Richard Strauss. The full board of trustees could then vote Friday on canceling the mark of distinguished service for Strauss, who died in 2005. It would be a symbolic rebuke, stripping only an honorary label.

The State Medical Board had a confidential investigation involving Strauss but never disciplined him. A state panel tasked with reviewing the handling of that old case began its work Thursday. Its findings are due Aug. 1.