Civil rights lawyer Crump sues Ohio State on behalf of Strauss victims | Nation/World

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ben Crump, a nationally noted civil rights attorney, has filed a lawsuit against Ohio State University on behalf of victims who have alleged sexual abuse by former university doctor Richard Strauss.

In a press release Monday afternoon, Crump said victims believed to have been molested or molested by Strauss in the state of Ohio should report to them before May 15.

Crump’s lawsuit comes a week after the state of Ohio announced it would offer an individual settlement program to resolve five pending lawsuits against the university for abuse by Strauss, an athletics and student health doctor, with some plaintiffs.

Details of the program were still being worked out when it was announced last Monday, but it will be limited to plaintiffs in five specific lawsuits. It would not be available for other lawsuits filed more recently.

With the five lawsuits, the state of Ohio is required to pay settlements up to an average of $ 252,000 per plaintiff, university spokesman Ben Johnson said last week. That number is the average settlement reached for 185 previous plaintiffs and was nearly $ 47 million.

“This was a grotesque perversion of power that deeply damaged people’s lives. Every sacrifice deserves justice. It is not up to OSU to find out which survivors are allowed to participate in a settlement program, ”Crump said in the press release. “Students on athletic scholarships, who are often minority groups, have no choice but to endure sexual abuse and then report it because their educational opportunities are at stake.”

The individual settlement program runs for four months and is administered by Matt Garretson, who, according to court records, also oversaw the settlements in May 2020 and October 2020.

Crump, who lives in Florida but has offices across the country, also represents Andre Hill’s family. Hill, a 47-year-old black man, was shot dead in front of a garage in a house on the Northwest Side by Columbus police officer Adam Coy in December 2020.

In 2019, Ohio state investigators concluded that Strauss had sexually abused at least 177 students between 1978 and his retirement in 1998, and that university officials repeatedly failed to act.

However, at least 360 plaintiffs have filed 23 lawsuits against the university for alleged abuse by Struass and Ohio State inaction. Strauss died of suicide in 2005.

“It is the ultimate responsibility of the OSU to protect its students and to get it right. The OSU failed because of its students and alumni because they did not take any action against Dr. Strauss when they had numerous complaints and warning signs that he had sexually abused hundreds, if not thousands, of young men, ”said Crump.

“If one publicly tells a group of survivors outside of the confidential mediation process that the abuse they have suffered has no value, those who should try to help the healing will be revived. It is clear to our team that announcing the settlement program outside of the protection of a confidential mediation process is not an attempt to repair the damage it has caused, but rather an attempt to selfishly repair the OSU’s image. “

A request for comment from Ohio State officials was not immediately returned.

(c) 2021 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

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