Some of the alleged abuse victims of former Ohio State University doctor Richard Strauss could get more than $250,000 as part of an individual settlement program for survivors involved in five active legal cases, according to a recent court filing by the university.
In a notice of intent filed with the United States District Court Southern District of Ohio Eastern Division on Monday, the university outlined some of the details of the program.
“Ohio State has condemned Strauss’ conduct and the university’s failure at the time to prevent the abuse, and has expressed its regret and sincere apologies to each person who endured or has been impacted by Strauss’ abuse,” the notice of intent said. “Despite the time-barred nature of the plaintiffs’ legal claims, Ohio State has attempted to reconcile and restore the bond between itself and its former students and alumni who were impacted by Strauss, and join with them in the healing process.”
An independent report commissioned by the university in 2019 concluded that Strauss “sexually abused at least 177 male student-patients” while he worked for the university between 1978 and his voluntary retirement in 1998. Strauss died by suicide in 2005.
“Through the new Strauss Individual Settlement Program, the university is committed to providing an average settlement amount of up to $252,551 to individual survivors involved in five of the active cases against Ohio State,” university spokesperson Benjamin Johnson told CNN on Tuesday.
Johnson said the settlement will be independently administered by Matt Garretson, who oversaw the May 2020 and October 2020 settlement payouts. Ohio State previously reached those settlement agreements with 185 survivors in 17 lawsuits, totaling $46.7 million, according to a statement from the university.
Rocky Ratliff, one of the plaintiffs and an attorney for 46 other victims, told CNN that the settlement is an attack on the alleged victims who identified themselves and came out to speak to the media. Ratliff says victims of sexual abuse by Strauss received less compensation than other victims in well-known cases.
Speaking only to Ohio State’s case, Johnson addressed Ratliff’s claims saying that the way Ohio State responded to the sexual abuse claims against Strauss is noteworthy. Upon learning about the 2018 allegations against Strauss, Johnson said the university acted immediately, launching a full and independent investigation of the matter and informed everyone about its actions.
“The announcement came out April 5, 2018 and hundreds of thousands of people were emailed and reminded that if they had something to share, they were encouraged to share,” Johnson said.
Ohio State reached a $5.8 million settlement with 23 more Strauss sexual abuse survivors as identified in five lawsuits in October 2020, according to a statement released by the university. Those settlements, similar to the first settlement of 162 other survivors, reflected an average of approximately $252,000 per survivor in compensation, the statement said.
“Our ongoing negotiations with Ohio State have resulted in a fair settlement process that acknowledges the harm inflicted on individual survivors and provides a pathway to healing,” lead negotiator for the plaintiffs’ firms Rick Schulte said in an October statement from Ohio State. “Once again, Ohio State has stepped forward and done the right thing.”