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OSU investigating sexual misconduct allegations against former wrestling team physician

COLUMBUS (WCMH) -- The Ohio State University announced Thursday that an investigation is underway into allegations of sexual misconduct against Dr. Richard Strauss, a former wrestling team physician.

Strauss died in 2005, the university says. 

Allegations include sexual misconduct from the mid-1970s through the late 1990s "regarding Dr. Strauss’ behavior with student-athletes and other acts of sexual misconduct," though the school said Thursday that the exact dates Strauss was working in this capacity at the university are not known.

Former wrestler Michael DiSabato says he first brought this issue to the attention of the university in his master's thesis in 1994. In that paper, DiSabato said he shined a light on sexual assault along with other issues in the athletics population.

"When I say complaint I want to be clear, I delivered my masters thesis to Jim Jones, the athletic director. My master's thesis entitled 'Issues of Substance Abuse and Sexual Assault Within the Student-Athlete Population.' And in that thesis, I described the environment in which elite athletes were trained. And it was not an environment in which elite male athletes should ever be trained," said DiSabato.

DiSabato says at the time, the university did nothing in response to his paper.

"This is not an easy issue to address. However, when I saw and when we saw the young ladies at Michigan State stand up, it was evident and obvious that we needed to come forward as well," said DiSabato. "It was very nice to see the university took steps to bring in their compliance and ethics department to listen to my concerns and to fully evaluate the testimony of my teammates and coaches."

He says Strauss was his team doctor while he attended the university as an undergraduate between 1986 and 1991.

The university says it is reaching out to former athletes, coaches, and others who may have been affected or have knowledge about the allegations. 

The attorney general of Ohio has appointed an outside investigator, according to the university. 

This story has been edited to reflect that Dr. Strauss was a team physician, not a team trainer. Information initially provided by the university listed him as a trainer.


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