The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has launched an investigation into how Ohio State University has responded to mounting sexual abuse allegations against a former sports physician.
“We welcome the involvement and careful oversight of OCR and look forward to providing any information we can,” Ohio State’s Vice President and chief compliance officer Gates Garrity-Rokous said in a statement published by the university on Thursday.
The university announced in April that it was looking into accusations of sexual abuse against Dr. Richard Strauss, who was employed by the school as a team doctor from the mid-1970s to late 1990s. Strauss, who killed himself in 2005, is currently accused of sexually abusing over 100 athletes during his tenure as team doctor for 14 different sports teams.
The investigation will “examine whether the university is responding promptly and equitably to complaints and reports by former students, including allegations that employees knew or should have known about the sexual misconduct and allowed the abuse to continue,” according to the school’s statement.
“We responded promptly and appropriately to the allegations received in April about Dr. Strauss,” Garrity-Rokous added. “We are confident in the independence and thoroughness of the investigation we launched then as well as our ongoing commitment to transparency.”
The accusations against Strauss have had a ripple effect, ensnaring Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) who was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State during Strauss’ tenure. At least eight of Strauss’ accusers have said that Jordan, who’s currently running to be the speaker of the House, knew of the abuse and did nothing.
“I considered Jim Jordan a friend. But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on,” former Ohio State wrestler and Strauss accuser Mike DiSabato told NBC News in an investigative report published last month.
Another former Ohio State wrestler told NBC News that he confronted Jordan about Strauss’ abuse when he played at the school in 1993 and 1994.
“I remember I had a thumb injury and went into Strauss’ office and he started pulling down my wrestling shorts,” Dunyasha Yetts said. “I’m like, what the fuck are you doing? And I went out and told Russ and Jim what happened. I was not having it. They went in and talked to Strauss.”
Jordan has repeatedly denied knowing about any alleged sexual abuse.
“I had not heard about any type of abuse at all,” Jordan told the Columbus Dispatch in May, adding that “no one reported any type of abuse” to him.