A working group convened by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has determined that the Ohio Medical Board had significant evidence as early as 1996 that Ohio State University athletic doctor Richard Strauss was sexually abusing patients, DeWine announced today.
The governor created the working group in May after an independent investigation found that during his tenure at OSU, Strauss likely abused as many as 177 people beginning as early as 1979.
Records from the state's medical board were redacted in a report issued by that independent investigation, but because DeWine's working group is a governmental entity, it was able to view those documents.
The records showed that investigators knew Strauss had been performing inappropriate examinations on male students, but more or less ignored that evidence.
The medical board launched its investigation into Strauss' conduct in 1996 after complaints from students, but took no disciplinary action against him. OSU removed Strauss from his role in the university's athletic department, but he remained as faculty at the university until he retired in 1999. Strauss committed suicide in 2005.
OSU faces several class-action lawsuits around the abuse allegations.
DeWine's working group issued a number of other recommendations, including suggesting the medical board draw up plans for working more closely with law enforcement and victims' advocates on sexual assault cases, set up a quality assurance program and establish sunset dates on the confidentiality of investigation records.
The governor has also called for a review of the roughly 1,500 investigations into medical personnel the medical board opened and closed without disciplinary action since 1994.