A Message from President Drake: Strauss Investigation Report

The following email was sent to alumni on Friday, May 17, 2019.

Dear Alumni:

In April 2018, Ohio State announced an independent investigation into allegations of sexual abuse against Dr. Richard Strauss, who was employed by the university from 1978 to 1998. He died in 2005. We asked that you contact investigators at Perkins Coie if you had any information regarding the allegations against Strauss.

I write today to inform you of the completion of this independent investigation and to express our gratitude to those who reached out to the investigative team.

Strauss’ actions and the university’s inaction at the time were unacceptable. On behalf of Ohio State, we offer our profound regret and sincere apologies to each person who endured Strauss’ abuse.

We have notified survivors that we would be releasing the report publicly today, and it has been shared with them. Now, we are sharing the report and related public records with the university community.

We want to assure you that the investigators made every effort to protect the anonymity of survivors. Accordingly, the names of survivors are omitted from the report.

The university advocated with the State Medical Board of Ohio to be allowed to release the full, unredacted report, and we filed a motion in that regard with the federal court. The medical board opposed our motion to the court, citing R.C. 4731.22(F). The federal court denied our motion. Therefore, portions of the report referring to the medical board’s investigatory file on Strauss must be redacted. The university will continue to advocate for permission to release the redacted portions of the report.

Please know the report contains explicit descriptions of sexual abuse.

The independent investigators concluded that Strauss committed acts of sexual abuse against at least 177 students during the years he was employed as a physician at the university. The report also concludes that university personnel at the time had knowledge of complaints and concerns about Strauss’ conduct as early as 1979 but failed to investigate or act meaningfully.

This independent investigation was completed because of the strength and courage of survivors, and we are grateful they came forward.

As a reminder, the university announced earlier this year that it will cover the cost of professionally certified counseling for those affected by Strauss. The counseling is offered through Praesidium, which has extensive experience in providing confidential and sensitive support services. No contact with the university is required, and Praesidium will not share information with Ohio State. Affected individuals can engage in counseling for as long as needed. For those who have received counseling as a result of Strauss’ actions, the university will reimburse those costs through Praesidium.

The university is sharing the report publicly on the Strauss investigation website along with related public records and messages to our university community. At the start of the independent investigation, the university referred this matter to the Columbus Division of Police, the Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. Each agency has been provided with a copy of the report.

Our university community remains united in its commitment to support a better and safer future. Ohio State has implemented multiple additional safeguards in the 20 years since Strauss left the university, including programs and initiatives established in recent years to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct and abuse. These are detailed in today’s message to our campus community.

Thank you for your continued partnership in this important effort — and for the ways you represent Ohio State.

Sincerely,

Michael V. Drake, MD
President