The Supreme Court on Monday left in place a decision that allows more than 230 men to sue Ohio State University over decades-old sexual abuse by a university doctor, the late Richard Strauss.
Two cases involving the abuse were on a list of many cases the court said it would not hear. And, as is typical, the court did not comment in saying it would not hear the cases.
Ohio State University had urged the court to review a ruling by the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that revived lawsuits that had been dismissed. The men who sued are among hundreds of former student-athletes and other alumni who say they were abused by Strauss, who worked at the school from 1978 to 1998.
They say university officials failed to stop him despite complaints raised as early as the late 1970s. Many of them allege Strauss abused them during required physicals and other medical exams at campus athletic facilities, a student health center, his home and an off-campus clinic.
Strauss killed himself in 2005 at age 67. The university in 2018 announced an investigation into Strauss’ abuse and the university’s conduct. It has apologized to his victims and reached over $60 million in settlements with at least 296 people.
But the university eventually sought to have the remaining unsettled cases dismissed, arguing that the time limit for the claims had long passed.
The remaining plaintiffs have argued that they filed timely claims and that the time limit didn’t start running until the 2018 investigation into Strauss’ abuse made his conduct public. The men say that was when they first learned that the school had been aware of Strauss’ abuse and failed to protect them from him. Many also only realized then that they’d been victims of abuse since Strauss disguised his abuse as medical care, their lawyers said.
In a statement, lawyers for the plaintiffs said they were pleased the Supreme Court decided not to hear the cases. “We look forward to returning to the trial court, having our clients’ stories heard, and gathering further evidence of OSU’s widespread cover-up of Dr. Strauss’s serial predation,” they said.