State Watch

Ohio State sexual abuse survivors planning appeal

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A group of former Ohio State University students who have accused ex-OSU athletics team doctor Richard Strauss of sexual abuse is vowing to appeal a federal judge’s decision last week to dismiss their lawsuits because the statute of limitations had expired. 

Steve Snyder-Hill, one of Strauss’s accusers who said he submitted a complaint against the doctor to the university decades ago, told The Associated Press that he and other survivors are moving forward with the lawsuit to apply pressure for more changes to be made in how sexual misconduct allegations are addressed.

Mike Schyck, a former OSU wrestler, told the news agency that he wants the university to take on more responsibility for its actions, beyond the public apologies it has issued for failing to address concerns students had brought up about Strauss for years. 

Strauss, who died by suicide in 2005, allegedly abused dozens of men from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s.

“They prop you up and say: Thank you for your bravery, and we’re sorry this has happened, you know, but sorry, not sorry, Schyck told the AP of the university. 

He added that he and others are aiming to move forward with their legal complaints to protect other survivors of years-old abuse, arguing that the judge’s decision could have a chilling effect on future legal complaints. 

“I’m not going anywhere,” he told the AP. “If we have to keep going, we’ll keep going.”

Ohio State has reached nearly $47 million in settlements with 185 survivors, with each receiving about an average of $252,000, according to the AP. 

The university said it has so far settled with a total of more than 230 men, though the exact number it has spent is not clear. 

Last week, U.S. District Judge Michael Watson ruled that while there is no doubt that the men who brought forward legal complaints “suffered unspeakable sexual abuse,” he was compelled to grant OSU’s motion to dismiss the case, noting that the statute of limitations had passed. 

In Ohio, the statute of limitation for rape cases is 20 years. 

Lawyers representing Snyder-Hill and more than 100 other accusers said in a statement shortly after the ruling that the decision “sends a disturbing message that the very real challenges sexual abuse survivors often face in understanding what has happened to them — and who enabled the abuse they experienced — is irrelevant when they ultimately ask for the court’s help in holding abusive people and institutions accountable.”

Ohio State said in a statement following the decision that it will “continue to cover the cost of professionally certified counseling services and treatment for anyone affected by Strauss.”

Tags campus sexual assault Ohio ohio state university Ohio State University abuse scandal Richard Strauss Statute of limitations The Associated Press
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