Alleged victims of a former Ohio State team doctor were not happy this week to learn the investigation could last longer than they say they were led to believe.
According to alleged victims, they were told a final report on an investigation into the allegations against former Ohio State University team doctor, Dr. Richard Strauss, would be delivered soon; they had an expectation that would not be six to eight weeks from now.
This week, OSU president Michael Drake told the university’s student newspaper he expects the investigation to end in “six to eight weeks.”
A spokesman for the University supplied the following statement about the status of the investigation.
“The investigation of the Strauss matter is an independent investigation conducted by Perkins Coie. The timeline for conclusion of the investigation is determined by the independent investigators. As we understand it, the investigation will likely be concluded in the next six to eight weeks. The independent investigation is of the highest priority for the university. Ohio State remains steadfastly committed to understanding the extent of Dr. Strauss’ misconduct and to responding appropriately.”
Brian Garrett, one of the alleged victims of Dr. Strauss, says this doesn’t mesh with what he is hearing and how he perceives the situation.
“I’ve heard from survivors that have talked to the lead investigator, Markus Funk, who said he’s done investigating,” said Garrett. “And so why is there another six to eight weeks that’s needed on this investigation?”
NBC 4 reached out to Funk and his firm to learn the status of the investigation.
Unfortunately, Funk is currently out of the country on vacation and has not yet been able to respond to our inquiry.
Colleagues at his firm said are unable to comment on the status of his investigation and referred our questions directly to him.
In the meantime, Garrett doesn’t trust the university and says what they say and what they do are not adding up.
Recently, Strauss’ accusers have suggested a mediator that has experience with high-profile sex abuse cases.
The university rejected that mediator and in turn suggested a mediator that has no experience in sex abuse cases, according to Garrett.
Garrett says, in his opinion, the university is trying to sabotage and delay the mediation so that it fails.
The university denies those allegations.
A university spokesman released the following statement regarding Garrett’s claims.
“The university is absolutely not sabotaging or delaying the mediation process. Instead, we are working with the federal court and the federal judge overseeing these cases to arrange for mediation pursuant to its established processes. We appreciate the opportunity to work with the court on its efforts to find pathways of resolution, and we continue to confer with the parties on possible mediators.”
Garrett isn’t just focused on the mediation and resolution of the third-party investigation.
He wants to make sure lawmakers at the Statehouse are up to speed with what has happened so far.
He is also interested in pushing legislation that was introduced last General Assembly but failed to make it over the finish line.
The bill would eliminate the statute of limitations for potential victims of Dr. Strauss. It would be modeled after legislation that passed in Michigan related to the Dr. Larry Nasser case.
Democrat State Representative Kristin Boggs says she would be in favor of that kind of legislation.
“I think that whenever we talk about making it easier for victims to get justice that is generally legislation that I am supportive of,” said Boggs.
Boggs says, she wouldn’t mind removing the statute of limitation for all rape cases and extending it for sexual violent crimes.
NBC 4 reached out to the Republican Caucus in the State Senate for comment on this story.
Officials said the caucus is choosing to hold off on commenting at this time because the issue is going through the legal process.
Garret says he has not yet had a conversation with the new Speaker of the House, nor has he had an opportunity to talk to any of the chairmen of the committees that may play a role in any legislation he helped bring forward.