Former Ohio State wrestling team doctor's alleged abuse victims now exceed 100

Yahoo Sports
This file photo shows an Ohio State employment application from Dr. Richard Strauss, who now stands accused of abuse. (AP)
This file photo shows an Ohio State employment application from Dr. Richard Strauss, who now stands accused of abuse. (AP)

When Ohio State launched an investigation into allegations of abuse against former wrestling team physician Dr. Richard Strauss in April, the university encouraged more victims to come forward. In an update on Friday, the school announced that more than 100 student-athletes from across 14 sports “have reported firsthand accounts of sexual misconduct,” according to the The Columbus Dispatch.

Former OSU wrestler Mike DiSabato first made public allegations against Strauss three months ago, citing “systemic sexual abuse which occurred over a 20-year timeframe and was ignored at the highest levels of the university.” The investigation quickly expanded beyond wrestling to include athletes from other sports who were treated by Strauss, as well as students he treated in the school’s health center.

Former wrestlers filed suit against Ohio State

Earlier this week, four former wrestlers filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the university, charging former Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger and other administrators with failing to act on alleged complaints to the school’s athletic and health departments that dated as far back as 1978.

Strauss worked at the university for nearly two decades from the mid-1970s to the 1990s. He committed suicide in 2005 at the age of 67. The lawsuit alleges Strauss was at the heart of a university recreation center that became a “cesspool of deviancy.” His abuses are alleged to have ranged into the hundreds, if not thousands, and student-athletes have said the misconduct was widely known.

More plaintiffs are expected to join the lawsuit, much the same way the case against former Michigan State gymnastics team physician Dr. Larry Nassar expanded to include hundreds of victims. That Ohio State’s investigation has already discovered more than 100 alleged victims reinforces that expectation.

The involvement of U.S. Representative Jim Jordan

The investigation has ramifications far beyond the allegations of abuse. Three ex-wrestlers accused U.S. Representative Jim Jordan of failing to report the doctor’s abuse while serving as an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State from 1986 to 1994. One wrestler alleged Jordan witnessed Strauss’s misconduct. Jordan denied having any prior knowledge of the accusations against Strauss. The high-ranking congressman was not named in the lawsuit, although he could be deposed as a witness.

“I don’t believe them at all,” President Donald Trump told reporters earlier this month when asked about the accusations levied against Jordan and the congressman’s subsequent denial. “I believe him. Jim Jordan is one of the most outstanding people I’ve met since I’ve been in Washington. I believe him 100 percent. No question in my mind. I believe Jim Jordan 100 percent. He’s an outstanding man.”

Jordan, who has been among the most vocal opponents of the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, seeks reelection in Ohio’s 4th district this year.

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Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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