COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Attorneys representing a group of 84 plaintiffs who say they were victims of sexual abuse at the hands of former Ohio State University physician Dr. Richard Strauss filed an appeal Wednesday requesting the case be sent back to district court for a full trial.
An Ohio State investigation confirmed that hundreds of men were assaulted by Strauss — under the guise of medical exams — over a period of 20 years. In their suit, plaintiffs alleged that the university enabled a sexual predator.
The former doctor left the university in 1998 and died by suicide in 2005.
Late last year, a federal judge dismissed the claims against Ohio State, finding that the statute of limitations on sexual abuse had run out.
But, in the appeal, attorneys argued that many of the Strauss victims did not know to consider the medical exams as assaults until years later.
“We trust in our doctors to do what they are doing because it’s medically necessary,” Scott Smith, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said.
Attorneys called for each claim to be examined individually and argued that college students are vulnerable victims because of their age and inexperience.
“Dr. Strauss was a cunning predator, and he disguised what he did to push as far as he could push to get what he wanted for his own sexual gratification,” Smith said. “He was the one doing doing this, and the students — mostly teenagers — were not experienced to know what a prostate exam what, what a hernia exam was, why did he need to touch his testicles.”
The appeal also accused Ohio State of fraudulent concealment for covering up allegations on behalf of Strauss and lying to his victims.
The university settled with some of the plaintiffs and argued that the remaining claims should be dismissed because of the statute of limitations.