Former wrestling students at Ohio State University have filed two separate class-action lawsuits alleging the university ignored allegations of sexual abuse against them.
The first lawsuit, filed by four “John Does” and wrestling team members, allege that the team doctor, Dr. Richard Strauss, “sexually assaulted, battered, molested, and/or harassed,” them during medical exams performed from the late 1980s through the 1990s. Strauss committed suicide in 2005.
The men claim in their lawsuit that their complaints “were not left unreported at the level of the coaches,” and that “rampant sexual abuse and culture of sexual abuse was reported to Ohio State administrators and to the head of the Athletic Department. …But these officials turned a blind eye to the abuse.”
Former athletic director and assistant university vice president Andy Geiger and former head wrestling coach Russell Hellickson are not named as defendants in the lawsuit. But the lawsuit claims that they “had actual and/or constructive notice of sexual assault, battery, molestation, and harassment committed by Dr. Strauss.”
In a previous interview with CNN, Hellickson said he told Strauss that the wrestlers were uncomfortable showering with the doctor.
The second lawsuit was filed by an individual and former OSU wrestler who claims he was sexually harassed multiple times by Strauss from 1982 to 1984 and that Strauss posed a “substantial risk of sexual abuse, harassment and molestation to the young male student-patients who sought treatment through OSU.”
OSU issued a statement saying, “We are aware of reports that individuals at the university did not respond appropriately during that era. These allegations are troubling and are a critical focus of the current investigation.”