COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – An attorney who is preparing a lawsuit against Ohio State University on behalf of more than 50 former athletes who say they were abused by a team physician says most of those clients were football players from the school’s storied program, including well-recognized stars who matriculated to the NFL.
Dayton attorney Michael Wright told The Associated Press on Saturday that the abuse by Dr. Richard Strauss occurred during required physical examinations at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, during treatment for injuries and ailments at Strauss’ off-campus clinic and at his home. Strauss killed himself in 2005.
An investigative report released Friday finds that Strauss sexually abused at least 177 male students but it makes only one specific reference to football players.
An Ohio State spokesman declined to comment.
The whistleblower credited with prompting an investigation of sexual abuse of students and athletes by a now-dead team doctor at Ohio State University says in a statement he feels “vindicated” but has mixed feelings about the law firm’s findings released Friday.
Mike DiSabato, a former Ohio State wrestler, met with school officials in March 2018 to discuss the abuse that he and other athletes suffered at the hands of Dr. Richard Strauss, prompting the school to hire Seattle-based Perkins Coie to conduct an investigation.
“Although a weight has been lifted off my back, I am deeply saddened to hear and relive the stories of so many others who suffered similar abuse by Dr. Strauss while Ohio State turned a blind eye,” DiSabato’s statement said.
He says the Perkins Coie report gives him “courage and strength to keep fighting to ensure Ohio State is held accountable for the damage and trauma they caused me and my family.”
Attorneys for DiSabato and more than 50 other former Ohio State athletes are preparing to sue the school for damages.