Who Was Dr. Richard Strauss from Ohio State University
Former Ohio State Team Physician Dr. Richard Strauss and Athlete Abuse
With the filing of a sexual abuse lawsuit against Ohio State University and its former team physician, Dr. Richard Strauss, questions are arising regarding who Richard Strauss really was, and why Ohio State did not act quickly and decisively to protect student-athletes.
More and more men who were athletes at Ohio State during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s are coming forward to lodge allegations of sexual abuse against the now-deceased doctor. Many of the athletes have told our Ohio State lawsuit team that the abuse was common knowledge, and that Strauss was known to shower with the athletes, even walking around nude in the locker room, staring at the genitals of the young men. Who was Richard Strauss, and how many young men’s lives were forever changed by the doctor?
Who Was Dr. Richard Strauss?
After serving as a submarine medicine instructor in the Navy, Richard Strauss’ resume’ shows he earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Michigan State in 1960, graduating from the University of Chicago (Pritzker School of Medicine) in 1964, beginning two years of physiology post-doctoral research in Washington, in 1968. Strauss volunteered at a Seattle free health clinic during 1968 and 1969, and his resume’ lists him as a physician for university diving activities in Washington, and, later, in Hawaii.
According to Strauss’ resume’, after working in Washington, he then worked at the University of Pennsylvania, teaching physiology and working in the hyperbaric therapy service of the hospital. In 1972, Strauss relocated to the state of Hawaii, becoming a physician at a Hawaii state clinic, and teaching physiology.
Although Strauss’ resume’ states he became a medical resident at Rutgers University in 1974, Rutgers officials claim to have no record of Strauss being an employee or medical resident. In 1975, Strauss took a position as research fellow at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and Harvard Medical School (Spokespeople for Harvard and Brigham have declined to provide information about Strauss’ work, stating they can provide no information regarding whether concerns were ever raised about Strauss).
During this time, Strauss also served as a sports medicine fellow at the Boston Children’s Hospital. Joining the medical staff of Ohio State as an attending physician in 1978, Strauss began serving as team physician for the athletic department of Ohio State in 1981—a position he held until June 30, 1995. In his time at Ohio State, Strauss published a variety of research articles, earned tenure, and was selected to test Olympic athletes for illegal drug use during the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics.
During this same period of time, Strauss became a part-time physician with Ohio State’s Student Health Services in mid-1994, holding this position until August, 1996, when he left to establish his own private medical practice in Columbus Ohio—although he did not retire as an Ohio State professor emeritus until mid-1998. Strauss’ personnel file from Ohio State offers no clues as to whether Ohio State had any indication of the alleged sexual misconduct, including only employment and tenure-related letters from colleagues who praised him as a well-known author of articles in his field as well as a highly-respected educator.
In fact, the dean of Ohio State’s medical college in 1984, Manuel Tzagournis, characterized Strauss as an “outstanding individual in every sense.” Strauss eventually moved to California, where he committed suicide in 2005. Strauss’ family, while saying they are “shocked and saddened” by the allegations are cooperating with OSU’s independent investigation.
Young Athletes Must Be Protected
It is imperative that our young athletes—whether at the collegiate level or those involved in the Olympics—be protected from sexual predators. As more and more of these athletes come forward to share their stories of abuse, it becomes clear that there was little protection being afforded them. These athletes must also feel safe enough to tell their stories and have legal advocates on their side who will fight for them.
Our national team of attorneys is representing several former Ohio State athletes from some of the 14 different sports that Dr. Richard Strauss was involved in doing physical exams and also from his work at his off-campus medical clinic and student services.