COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The Ohio State University is facing another lawsuit Monday related to the way it handled sexual abuse allegations against former university doctor Richard Strauss.
More than 300 men filed claims against the university, alleging it turned a blind eye as Strauss molested students over a 20-year period.
Now, one of the lead plaintiffs in those cases is suing the university a second time, claiming OSU is violating Ohio’s public records act.
“My quest to want to know the truth never stopped for 20 some years, so it’s not going to stop now,” said Stephen Snyder-Hill. “That’s why I’m filing this new lawsuit.”
He is student “B” in the study commissioned by the university itself that documents decades of sexual abuse of students by Strauss.
Student B complained so relentlessly that in 1995, the university finally forced Strauss to retire, but with emeritus status, with a pension and benefits, and with student B being told he was the only known victim.
“This university is the same university that allowed Strauss to prevail, so the only thing missing from the formula is another Strauss, and that’s what they don’t understand, that this coverup and this stuff that they continually do, putting out a personnel file that said Strauss was clean while we were coming forward.”
In 2018, Snyder-Hill learned there were hundreds just like him, and he started his quest to get all records related to his complaint about Strauss.
It took five months, he said, to get just five pages from a 21-page file. He claims the university is withholding much more, including text messages about him and his case, requested under Ohio’s Public Information Act nearly a year ago.
The university has settled about half of the more than 300 claims from Strauss victims, but not the remainder, including Snyder-Hill’s claim.
“I don’t know how it would look, if it looks vindictive or not, that’s not the intention,” he said when asked if his second lawsuit would come off as spiteful. “The intention is I want to know the truth. and that’s what I’ve wanted to know, that’s what I’ve been fighting to know for 20 some years, is the truth.”
Now, Snyder-Hill is asking the court of claims to force OSU to release all the information he’s been requesting since 2018.
“This has really been a long time, Colleen,” he said. “This has been a really long process for me and I was just reflecting the other day, I’ve gone through two Christmases, two Thanksgivings, two New Years. I’ve gone through the impeachment of a president, I’ve retired from the military and gone through a pandemic. This is how much time has passed since I found out these awful truths and want answers from OSU and here I still sit in 2020, and I just don’t want… they are not going to get away with this. They won’t. I won’t let them.”
Late today, the university issued the following statement:
“No comment on this particular legal filing at this time. As you know, as public records from the era in question decades ago have become available, they have been released and published online. Thousands of pages of records have been released.”