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Ohio State plans program to settle with more victims of abuse

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State University announced Monday that it is planning an individual settlement program that could help further resolve remaining claims of alleged sexual misconduct by Richard Strauss, the accused team doctor for abusing hundreds of young men during his two decades there.

In court documents, he revealed his intention to launch an “individual settlement program” this month for plaintiffs in five of the pending lawsuits, and pledged to provide an average settlement of up to about $ 252,000 per nobody. This was the average of the nearly $ 47 million in settlements previously reached for 185 of the plaintiffs.

The program could allow some of the remaining accusers to resolve their cases, even as others say they will continue their prosecution.

Lawyer Rocky Ratliff, who represents some of the plaintiffs and is one himself, called the documents “disgusting”. He said the men who have tried to hold the university accountable by coming forward publicly about their experiences are effectively offered less than Strauss’s accusers who settled in earlier – and far less than the regulations for female victims. in the sexual abuse scandals involving Michigan state doctors. and the University of Southern California.

When asked how he would react to what OSU is offering, Ratliff replied, “‘No’ would be an understatement.”

The state of Ohio has publicly apologized for the failure of school officials to arrest Strauss during his tenure despite complaints about him. He promised a “monetary resolution” for those he hurt.

About 400 men have sued the university over the past three years for failing to arrest Strauss after students raised concerns with school employees as early as 1979. Many men said they were groped for exams.

Strauss died in 2005. No one has publicly defended him since the charges came to light.

Enrollment in the Individual Settlement Program would be open over the next four months. It would be administered by the same person who oversaw previous agreements in the matter, said Ohio state spokesman Benjamin Johnson.

Through this program, “The State of Ohio continues its efforts to reconcile and restore the bond between itself and its alumni who were touched by Strauss, and to join them in the healing process. Said Michael Carpenter, an attorney representing the state of Ohio. in a folder.

He doesn’t say how the plans for the additional settlement program came about or why it’s being offered now, and Johnson said he couldn’t provide that information.

An investigation conducted for the school by a law firm found that Strauss’s sexual misconduct under the guise of medical care spanned his two decades there and his work with various sports teams, a health center for students and its off-campus clinic.

Last month, twenty-three new plaintiffs sued the state of Ohio, including the first plaintiff to file complaints about Strauss. The anonymous complainant, who frequented Ohio State from 1994 to 1998, alleges Strauss “cuddled too much” during an exam.

The individual settlement program does not include these new plaintiffs, Johnson said.

But Richard Schulte, an attorney for the plaintiffs in these cases and plaintiffs who settled earlier, said he believed the university “will want to do the right thing with anyone who has been injured by the Dr Strauss ”.

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