The Ohio State University announced today that it is offering a new individual settlement program for eligible survivors in cases involving the abuses of Richard Strauss.
The university previously reached settlement agreements with 185 survivors in 17 lawsuits, totaling $46.7 million. The average settlement value per survivor in the previous agreements, terms of which were announced in May and October 2020, was $252,551. Through the new Strauss Individual Settlement Program, the university is committed to providing an average settlement amount of up to $252,551 to individual survivors involved in five of the active cases against Ohio State. Individual settlement amounts will vary and be determined by an independent administrator. Similar to the previous settlements, the program offers tiered compensation on an individual basis depending on the nature of the conduct and other factors.
“Ohio State remains committed to acknowledging the condemnable behavior of a medical doctor who so clearly betrayed his position of power and trust,” said Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson. “We once again thank the survivors for coming forward and the courage to bring this abuse to light.”
The program will be independently administered by Matt Garretson, who also oversaw the May 2020 and October 2020 settlements and is a nationally recognized administrator of settlement programs, which includes extensive experience administering settlements in sexual abuse lawsuits. Regardless of the mediation or litigation, in a continuation of its effort to do the right thing for Strauss survivors, Ohio State now invites eligible claimants and their counsel who have not already settled their claims against Ohio State to do so on an individual basis through the program. The program is available at StraussIndividualSettlementProgram.com.
Eligible survivors who choose to participate in the new settlement program must do so through their attorneys and have 120 days from the beginning of the program on May 7.
Strauss was a university-employed physician from 1978 to 1998. He died in 2005. An independent investigation by the law firm Perkins Coie LLP determined that Strauss abused students for more than 20 years, and that the university administration failed to appropriately respond at the time.
Ohio State announced the independent investigation after a survivor came forward in April 2018. Following Perkins Coie’s year-long investigation, the university released a 180-page report in May 2019 that detailed acts of sexual abuse against at least 177 former students. The report along with related public records and university communications from 2018 through today can be found on the Strauss investigation website.
Since February 2019, the university has also covered the cost of professionally certified counseling services and treatment for anyone affected by Strauss, whether counseling and treatment occurred in the past or is needed at any point in the future. To connect with these services, or if individuals are at all uncertain about how to proceed and have questions, please contact Praesidium at 888-961-9273 or visit https://website.praesidiuminc.com/wp/osu/.
Ohio State continues to commit resources to prevent and address sexual misconduct, including policies, programs, staffing and tools. Anyone who has experienced sexual misconduct while at Ohio State — and the incident involved another student or university employee — is encouraged to report to the Office of Institutional Equity, the university’s anonymous reporting service or law enforcement.
Those who have experienced sexual misconduct outside of Ohio State should contact local law enforcement. Additional resources include:
- If you reside in the Columbus, Ohio, area, advocates from SARNCO can assist you in reporting, explain the investigation process and support you. SARNCO’s confidential, 24/7 support hotline is 614-267-7020.
- If you do not reside in the Columbus area, you can contact the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline, a confidential, 24/7 resource, at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). You can also visit the website to chat live with a representative. Advocates will help you find a resource in your community.
Current Ohio State students seeking additional support services can contact the Office of Student Life’s Counseling and Consultation Service while faculty and staff can access support resources through the Employee Assistance Program.