A former Ohio State student who claims a a now-deceased doctor molested him in the mid-1990s has made public his correspondence with school administrators.
Stephen Snyder-Hill says he went to see Richard Strauss for chest pain. His complaint from Jan. 6, 1995, documents his objections to the doctor’s genital examination and sexual comments, including Strauss asking if he was gay. Snyder-Hill reported that he "felt guilty that he let him touch him."
Snyder-Hill says he spoke with former Student Health Services director Ted Grace a few weeks later to discuss the complaint. In a letter from January 26 referencing that call "two days ago," Grace assures Snyder-Hill he had no complaints about Strauss.
"I want to assure you that we have never received a complaint about Dr. Richard Strauss before, although we have had several positive comments," Grace wrote.
Ohio State officials in a recent update said more than 100 students have come forward with first-hand accusations against Strauss, many of which are similar to Snyder-Hill’s. The school hired an outside law firm to investigate Strauss, and has talked to over 200 former students, staff and others so far.
Snyder-Hill says he feels sick to his stomach to hear so many stories that sound like his own, but years apart. Strauss was employed at the university from the 1970s-90s, but died by suicide in 2005.
“It all boils down to that OSU discounted us and they just didn't listen to us,” Snyder-Hill says. “You know, they could've fixed this at any of a number of these steps where people came forward."
Ohio State said in a recent press release that it “remains actively committed to uncovering what may have happened and university leaders at the time may have known.”
It’s that language that seems to get under Snyder-Hill’s skin the most.
He says the school needs to validate his and other people’s experiences, and stop characterizing the abuse as something that “may” have happened.
“If you’ve gone through this that is the most insulting language that you could use to somebody,” he says, “and it basically is another way of, in 2018, invalidating me. The same thing they did in 1995, and that’s not fair anymore. You can’t do that. I have a letter to prove that you knew.”
Snyder-Hill and nine other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the school in federal court on Thursday. The university is already facing two class-action suits related to Strauss.
You can read both the complaint and the university's response below.