COLUMBUS – A federal district court judge has ordered OSU to participate in mediation with Dr. Strauss’s sexual abuse survivors, holding in abeyance OSU’s Motion to Dismiss.
Judge Michael H. Watson of the Southern District of Ohio ruled that the case, which was brought by victims of former OSU physician Dr. Richard Strauss, will proceed to mediation with the university. Dr. Strauss was employed by the university from approximately 1978 to 1998, where he sexually abused students and student athletes under the guise of administering physical examinations.
“The Court’s ruling has made it clear that it expects OSU to stand by its words, take our clients seriously, to listen to their stories and to make a real and substantive effort to do the right thing,” said attorney Scott Elliot Smith, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers. “The Court echoed the words of the OSU’s Chairman of the Board of trustees, Michael Gasser, who stated in the December 2018 Board meeting the sexual abuse survivors’ claims will not be dismissed.” Smith interpreted Judge Watson’s comments to mean that he expects OSU to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
Smith called for more former students to come forward now that the Court has cleared the path to resolution through mediation assuring the confidentiality of each person’s identity.
“We’ve been saying from the outset that the most important thing is for those harmed by Dr. Strauss to have their opportunity to seek justice. This is the next step in obtaining justice and we look forward to OSU making changes in their culture and righting the wrongs our clients have suffered all these years. Now that the Court has ordered mediation, we encourage those who have not yet come forward to contact us to build the strongest possible case on behalf of every one of Dr. Strauss’s victims.”
The case is filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Case No. 2:18-cv-00736-MHW-EPD. Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Scott Elliot Smith and Brian Noethlich of Scott Elliot Smith, LPA; attorneys Jack Landskroner and Hannah Klang of Landskroner Grieco Merriman, LLC; and attorney Adele Kimmel of Public Justice, P.C.