Ohio State University faces federal investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by school doctor
(CNN) — The US Department of Education has opened an investigation into The Ohio State University’s handling of former students’ allegations of sexual misconduct by a school doctor, according to the university.
The federal investigation will be conducted by the department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which oversees Title IX complaints, the school said in a statement Thursday.
The inquiry, led by the OCR’s regional office in Cleveland, Ohio, “will examine whether the university is responding promptly and equitably to complaints and reports by former students,” the statement said, “including allegations that employees knew or should have known about the sexual misconduct and allowed the abuse to continue.”
The scandal surrounding the alleged actions of the late Dr. Richard Strauss has grown since the university first announced in April its own investigation, headed by the law firm Perkins Coie, to look into claims made by male former athletes on 14 sports teams.
Since then, more than 100 former Ohio State University students have reported firsthand accounts of sexual misconduct by Strauss, the school said last month.
Some of the accusers, mostly former student athletes, have come forward to publicly claim that Strauss sexually abused them under the guise of a medical examination.
Some accusers have said the OSU athletic staff — including Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, a one-time assistant coach for the wrestling team — were aware of Strauss’ actions.
Jordan, who is running to replace Paul Ryan as speaker of the House, has repeatedly denied that he had any knowledge of the abuse.
In a statement, Liz Hill, press secretary for the Department of Education, said the investigation began August 8.
“This new Title IX investigation will examine the university’s handling of reports of sex-based incidents involving Dr. Strauss, including allegations that university employees knew or should have known about the sexual misconduct and allowed the abuse to continue,” Hill said.
According to the school, the alleged abuse took place between 1979 and 1997.
“We welcome the involvement and careful oversight of OCR and look forward to providing any information we can,” said Gates Garrity-Rokous, the school’s vice president and chief compliance officer, in a statement about the US Department of Education’s investigation.
“We responded promptly and appropriately to the allegations received in April about Dr. Strauss,” Garrity-Rokous continued. “We are confident in the independence and thoroughness of the investigation we launched then as well as our ongoing commitment to transparency.”