Ohio State Doctor Sexually Abused at Least 177 Students — and Survivor Says School Ignored Complaints

A sex abuse survivor tells PEOPLE he's having a hard time "reliving what happened" to him

Dr. Richard Strauss
Photo: Ohio State University via AP

A former Ohio State University student who was abused by a school doctor wants more answers from the university after a school-commissioned report released last week stated the doctor sexually abused at least 177 students — and that school officials failed to take appropriate action.

Ohio State’s Dr. Richard Strauss abused students from 1979 to 1996, when the university suspended him after a patient accused Strauss of “fondling him during a genital examination,” according to the investigative report released on Friday by a law firm hired by the university.

The report states university personnel had knowledge of the abuse as early as 1979, but the complaints were never elevated beyond the Athletics or Student Health departments until 1996. Strauss was removed from the campus, but he was allowed to maintain his position as a tenured faculty member until 1998 when he voluntarily retired. Strauss died by suicide in 2005.

Despite the lengthy report, there are numerous survivors who remain unsatisfied with the school’s response.

Steve Snyder-Hill, who reported his abuse 1995, tells PEOPLE he does not believe the school has taken enough responsibility for what happened.

“The last few days have been traumatic not just because I’m reliving what happened to me as a student at Ohio State University, but because of the way OSU is treating me and other survivors even today,” Snyder-Hill tells PEOPLE. “All these years later and after months of waiting for this school-commissioned report, we still do not know how many students Strauss abused, exactly who in the athletic department and the broader administration knew about it and what systems the school has put in place to assure parents of future OSU students that this can never happen again.”

Following the release of the report, the school’s president sent a statement to students, faculty and staff.

“The findings are shocking and painful to comprehend,” wrote President Michael Drake. “On behalf of the university, we offer our profound regret and sincere apologies to each person who endured Strauss’ abuse. Our institution’s fundamental failure at the time to prevent this abuse was unacceptable — as were the inadequate efforts to thoroughly investigate complaints raised by students and staff members.”

The statement listed several “safeguards” the university had implemented beginning in 2000 with the creation of “sexual violence consultation team to review all sexual misconduct complaints for appropriate resources, consistency of response and referral, and input on related issues and inquiries.”

The report and the school’s president agree that the university failed to act in a meaningful way following the allegations and complaints.

Snyder-Hill along with others will be participating on a media conference call Tuesday morning addressing the report and raising questions about the school’s future plans to address the scandal.

“The school likes to say that this is ‘a different OSU,'” Snyder-Hill says, “but, until it makes clear and accepts responsibility for the full scope of what happened and how, there is no reason to believe that.”

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