Richard StraussOn Friday, Ohio State announced details of a $40.9 million settlement reached with 162 survivors in 12 lawsuits related to sexual abuse by Dr. Strauss. Although the crimes occurred more than 30-40 years ago, initial public reporting of these incidents first took place in April 2018 when some victims shared their stories with major media outlets across the nation.
On the heels of those initial victim reports, the university announced publicly an independent investigation of Strauss' abuse. After a year-long investigation by the independent law firm Perkins Coie, the university released a 180-page report in May 2019 that detailed acts of sexual abuse against at least 177 former students. The report concluded that university personnel at the time failed to adequately respond to or prevent Strauss' abuse.
This past March, Ohio State revealed that it had reached initial monetary settlements with those victims who had been originally participants in a series of a dozen separate lawsuits which had been brought together, according to a statement issued by the Ohio State press office A special overseer independent of the university is expected to help allocate varying payments to the men based on their experiences and the harm done, aided by a three-person panel of experts evaluating claims. Amounts received by survivors will vary by individual as awarded by the special master. As part of the agreement, Ohio State will provide up to $500,000 to fund the costs of administering the fund; no taxpayer, tuition or restricted donor funds will be utilized, according to Friday's statement.
What's more, under the agreement, all of the participating plaintiffs will dismiss their claims against the university.
Ohio State also invited other victims of Dr. Strauss who had filed suit against the school to consider joining this latest settlement.
Seeking a sense of closure with victims, Michael V. Drake, Ohio State president, said in a statement, "The university of decades ago failed these individuals -- our students, alumni and members of the Buckeye community. Nothing can undo the wrongs of the past, but we must do what we can today to work toward restorative justice."
Rick Schulte, lead negotiator for the plaintiffs' firms, stated, "Working with Ohio State, we established an independent confidential process to evaluate each claim individually. The process will account for wide variations in abuse and provide a pathway for survivor healing. One hundred percent of 162 survivors in this settlement decided against further litigation and agreed to participate. The participation rate speaks to the quality of this settlement."
Even after publicly revealing this settlement, Ohio State continues to encourage victims of Dr. Strauss' abuse to contact the university to learn more about settlement and treatment options. The school reiterated that it has covered the costs of professionally-certified counseling services and treatment. 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/.