An Ohio State University team doctor who died years ago sexually abused at least 177 students over a period of decades so wantonly that students described his examinations as hazing—and their coaches, trainers, other team doctors, and school leaders knew about it, per an investigative report released Friday. The law firm hired to conduct the investigation for the school interviewed hundreds of ex-students and university workers. Dr. Richard Strauss abused the men from 1979 to 1997—nearly his whole time at Ohio State—in episodes involving male students from at least 16 sports, plus his work at the student health center and an off-campus clinic. As accusations surfaced, Strauss appealed to school officials, both formally and informally, to keep his job—including the office of then president Gordon Gee, per the AP.
Many accusers said they were groped and inappropriately touched during physical exams. Some also said they were ogled in locker rooms, where athletes joked about Strauss' behavior, referring to him with nicknames like "Dr. Jelly Paws." The report found many of the students thought the doctor's behavior was an "open secret" and that their coaches, trainers, and other team doctors knew about it. In releasing the report, Ohio State President Michael Drake offered "profound regret and sincere apologies" to all victims, calling it a "fundamental failure" of the institution. Previous to Friday's release, his accusers had alleged that more than 20 school officials and staff members, including two athletic directors and Jim Jordan, a coach who's now a Republican congressman, were aware of concerns about Strauss but didn't stop him. (Read more Ohio State University stories.)