Former OSU wrestlers sue university over sex abuse allegations

Former OSU wrestlers sue university over sex abuse allegations
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A group of former Ohio State University (OSU) wrestlers is suing the school for allegedly failing to protect athletes from sexual abuse decades ago.

The class action federal lawsuit, filed Monday in Columbus, was first reported by The Columbus Dispatch.

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The unidentified plaintiffs allege that OSU knew that team doctor Richard Strauss was sexually assaulting, abusing and harassing wrestlers in the 1980s and '90s but didn’t do anything to stop the abuse.

“OSU failed to take appropriate action (or, in fact, any action whatsoever) to stop or prevent Dr. Strauss from continuing his rampant sexual misconduct,” the suit says.

“Dr. Strauss used his position of trust and confidence to regularly and systematically sexually assault, abuse, batter, molest, and harass male students and student-athletes over the entire course of his career in his capacity as an employee, agent, and/or representative of OSU,” it adds.

Several wrestlers came forward earlier this month claiming that powerful Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanJordan says FBI used 'crushing power of the state' to probe Trump campaign based on dossier GOP lawmakers nearing deal to get Nellie Ohr to testify The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE (R-Ohio) also turned a blind eye to the alleged abuse when he was an assistant coach at OSU, throwing the investigation into the national spotlight.

One of those ex-wrestlers, Mike DiSabato, had sought compensation from OSU last month and warned that he would “pursue other avenues toward resolution” if a meeting was not set up with university representatives to discuss a potential settlement for the victims, according to an email obtained by The Hill.

More than a dozen other wrestlers and former coaches have rallied to Jordan’s defense, saying the lawmaker did not know about Strauss’s alleged sexual misconduct. 

The lawsuit claims two former wrestlers complained to Andy Geiger, the former OSU athletic director, about “the voyeuristic and lewd conduct of the men in the lockers and saunas of Larkins Hall, including that of Dr. Strauss,” but the school never took any action in response.

OSU launched an independent investigation in April into the allegations against Strauss, who died in 2005, and whether enough was done to protect the students.

The university did not return an immediate request for comment.