COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–Victims of sexual assault by OSU doctor Richard Strauss said they refuse to be silenced and took their anger directly to the OSU Board of Trustees. The victims staged a protest outside the Longaberger Alumni House as the board was meeting inside.
Three of the men were allowed to give brief statements directly to the board of trustees, and President Johnson spoke also.
“On behalf of the entire Ohio State University, I’m deeply sorry. What Richard Strauss did was unconscionable and the University’s failure to act was unacceptable,” said Dr. Johnson.
“I saw the same thing that I saw for three years in a row. I see people that view us as a liability. People that don’t view us as a family member. people that don’t view us as a former student” said Strauss survivor Steven Snyder Hill. “People who view us as a threat and that is not what we should be. We should be somebody who views us as a partner to make sure that this never happens again. “
There was a small gathering outside with the victims displaying a sign condemning the board and state lawmakers for failing to act. Emotional pleas were made to the board to follow through with earlier promises that they would “do the right thing.”
“What if this was your child? Would you guys let anybody treat your child the way that you are treating us? I don’t want to be angry at you. You are better than this. The OSU that I believe in is better than this. I want you to listen to us. The OSU of 20, 30 40 years ago is the same OSU as today, and I am really concerned that if you have another Richard Strauss that based on the action that I have seen from 2018 on nothing is going to change”
The lawsuits filed by hundreds of sexual assault victims who accuse the university of failing to protect them through twenty years of abuse by Dr. Strauss were dismissed because the university asserted the statute of limitations.
The federal judge said in his order that there is no doubt Strauss assaulted hundreds of men and university leaders were aware of it. That is something victims want the board to acknowledge – as Dr. Johnson did.