Strauss accusers call on OSU to investigate trustee Abigail Wexner due to Epstein ties

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Five former Ohio State University athletes who have accused Dr. Richard Strauss of sexually assaulting them have called on officials to investigate another alleged sexual assault allegation, specifically calling on OSU to investigate one of its Board of Trustees.

In a letter dated Dec. 5, the former students call on Ohio Attorney General David Yost and U.S. Attorney, Southern District of Ohio David DeVillers to investigate the claims of Maria Farmer, who has accused Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell of sexual assault on a property owned by L Brands founder Les Wexner and his wife Abigail in New Albany in 1996.

The letter is signed by William Knight, Eric Smith, Mike Rodriguez, Dunyasha Yetts, and Mark Coleman.

RELATED: Culture of cover-up: Decades of sexual abuse at Ohio State

The letter specifically calls on OSU to have Abigail Wexner, vice-chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees, and her husband investigated for their ties to Epstein and his alleged crimes.

“It defies comprehension that Mrs. Wexner is still on the Board of Trustees given the credible allegations on her complicity in keeping Ms. Farmer captive for Jeffrey Epstein in 1996, while, at the same time, Ohio State grapples with how to atone for its complicity in allowing a monster to prey on its students for nearly two decades,” the letter states. “Simply put, given the allegations, it appears Mrs. Wexner is as guilty as Ohio State was in facilitating the crimes of a serial sexual predator.”

“To its credit, Ohio State hired an independent law firm to evaluate its conduct vis-a-vis Dr. Richard Strauss,” the letter adds. “We are asking nothing more than a similar independent review of the Wexners’ conduct vis-a-vis Maria Farmer and Jeffery Epstein.”

In a sworn affidavit, Maria Farmer said she was hired by Epstein to “help him with acquiring art.” She said Epstein arranged for her to work on an “art project” at the Wexner’s home on Kitzmiller Road in New Albany in the summer of 1996.

Farmer said Epstein and a female companion, Ghislaine Maxwell, “asked me to come into a bedroom with them and then proceeded to sexually assault me against my will. I fled from the room and called the sheriff’s office but did not get any response. The Wexner’s security staff refused to let me leave the property. I pleaded with them and my father drove up from Kentucky to Ohio to help me. I was held against my will for approximately 12 hours until I was ultimately allowed to leave with my father.”

According to the letter, citing an interview Farmer gave to the Washington Post, Farmer would only be allowed to leave the Wexner property with permission from Abigail Wexner.

“Although Ms. Farmer never met Abigail Wexner in person, they did talk on the phone when Ms. Farmer wanted to leave,” the letter states. “Epstein told Farmer, ‘Les [Wexner] loves me. He’ll let me do anything.'”

Les Wexner has denied any knowledge of the alleged assault at his home.

A Wexner family spokesperson released the following statement late Saturday:

“Mr. and Mrs. Wexner have condemned Jeffrey Epstein’s abhorrent behavior in the strongest possible terms and severed all ties with him more than a decade ago. Prior to the recent news coverage of Ms. Farmer, Mr. and Mrs. Wexner had no knowledge of her, never met her, never spoke with her, and never spoke with Mr. Epstein or anyone else about her.”

“The Epstein house was not a Wexner guest house, was not on land owned by the Wexners, and was nearly one half mile away from the Wexner home.”

While there has been no evidence directly linking the Strauss and Epstein cases, the five former OSU students do cite in the letter the fact that Abigail Wexner was a member of the Board of Trustees at the time OSU “was continuing to cover-up for the serial misdeeds of perhaps the most prolific sexual assaulter in American history, Dr. Richard Strauss.”

“That these events were taking place simultaneously is not a coincidence in our view,” the letter states.

The letter ends with the former student-athletes reiterating their call for an investigation into Farmer’s allegations into Epstein and any ties the Wexners may have to those allegations.

“Only by holding accountable those who promote sexual assault can we expiate the sins of the past and present, allowing all victims of Dr. Strauss to move forward in a healthy and productive manner,” the letter closes.

The Attorney General’s office issued the following statement Saturday:

This office takes all allegations of sexual assault seriously. In Ohio, primary criminal jurisdiction rests with local prosecutors and police agencies – the Attorney General only has authority over such matters when invited in by local authorities.

We became aware of this letter because we were contacted by the news media, who already had it in hand. We will review it and determine an appropriate course of action.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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