COLUMBUS, Ohio — More than three dozen alleged victims of sexual abuse by Ohio State University physician Richard Strauss filed an appeal with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, saying the judge in their case would have had to recuse himself due to his personal ties to OSU.
The plaintiffs are asking that a lower court be ordered to hear their claims. U.S. District Judge Michael Watson dismissed their case last September, saying their claims were filed beyond Ohio’s statute of limitations for sexual abuse.
In the brief, counsel for the plaintiffs alleges:
“Judge Watson did not disclose to the plaintiffs all of his involvements with OSU, including: being a paid law professor, being a personal friend of the chairman of the OSU board, donating money to OSU, fundraising for OSU, vacationing with OSU officials, even while this case was pending before him, his wife’s company had a license agreement with OSU to sell merchandise OSU, and his wife’s business received direct orders from OSU, which resulted in income for his wife.
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News 5 contacted Judge Watson on Tuesday. We have not yet received a response.
News 5 also reached the OSU. In an email, OSU communications director Ben Johnson said:
“As of 2018, the State of Ohio has sought to uncover and acknowledge the truth about the abuses of Richard Strauss and the failure of the university at the time to prevent them. We offer our deepest regrets and our apologies to all who suffered Strauss’ abuse.The State of Ohio has reached settlements with 289 survivors, more than half of the plaintiffs, for $59.79 million.
“Strauss was a physician employed at the university from 1978 to 1998. He died in 2005. Ohio State today is a fundamentally different university, and over the past 20 years has committed substantial resources to prevent and address sexual misconduct.These actions include new policies and programs, mandatory training, centralized reporting, additional staff and resources throughout the university, including athletics and the medical center. here.”