Federal Court Will Decide Mediator For Richard Strauss Lawsuits | WOSU Radio

Federal Court Will Decide Mediator For Richard Strauss Lawsuits

Mar 13, 2019

A federal court will decide the mediator of two class action lawsuits against The Ohio State University, which claim the school ignored or failed to stop sexual misconduct by a longtime team doctor.

Doctor Richard Strauss is accused of abusing at least 150 students over the course of three decades at the university. Dozens of men filed suit against the university for failing to take action against Strauss, who died in 2005.

In a new court filing, the men and Ohio State lawyers say they couldn't agree on a mediator by Tuesday’s deadline and the court will have to pick.

The plaintiffs suggested mediators with experience handling sexual assault class action lawsuits, including mediators who handled Larry Nassar’s case at Michigan State University and the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State University. Ohio State rejected those suggestions, saying “the process used created controversy.”

Ohio State’s proposed mediators did not have previous experience with sexual assault cases, however, and the plaintiffs said the Strauss case shouldn’t serve as “training ground.” OSU recommended a former federal judge or a federal appeals court mediator.

The Seattle law firm Perkins Coie is still investigating the university’s handling of allegations against Strauss, who worked at the school from the 1970s-90s. No one has publicly defended Strauss.

Speaking in January, during his “State Of The School” address, Ohio State president Michael Drake said the investigation is “nearing its end.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.