COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State University will pay $40.9 million into a fund for 162 victims of sexual abuse by deceased physician Richard Strauss, who worked for the university until the late 1990s.
The university and the plaintiffs in a combined 12 lawsuits announced the settlement two months ago, but the total damages in the agreement were revealed Friday in a filing in U.S. District Court in Columbus.
“The university of decades ago failed these individuals _ our students, alumni and members of the Buckeye community,” university President Michael Drake said in a news release. “Nothing can undo the wrongs of the past, but we must do what we can today toward restorative justice.”
How much money each individual will receive is to be determined.
“Funds in the settlement will be allocated on an individual basis based on the harm and damages experienced by each survivor,” according to the university’s release.
A “special master” with experience in the area of sexual-trauma-claim evaluation will oversee the process with the assistance of a three-person panel selected with input from Ohio State and the plaintiffs’ lawyers.
Investigators hired by Ohio State concluded last year that Strauss sexually abused at least 177 students between 1979 and his retirement in 1998 and that university personnel repeatedly failed to act.
Lawsuits against the university indicated that the number of victims was much higher. To date, at least 360 plaintiffs have filed 23 lawsuits against the university over Strauss’ abuse and Ohio State’s lack of action.
The remaining 11 lawsuits remain unresolved.
Strauss retired in 1998. He later moved to California, where he died by suicide in 2005.