Ohio State is investigating allegations of sexual misconduct committed by a former wrestling team doctor during a tenure with the university that lasted decades. A physician on the faculty at Ohio State from 1978 through 1998, Dr. Richard Strauss treated student-athletes from several sports, worked at the medical center, and the student health center. Multiple former athletes have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct committed by Strauss under the guise of medical treatment.
Since Ohio State announced its investigation into the allegations in April 2018, several former Buckeyes wrestlers have accused Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) of ignoring accounts of alleged abuse during his time as an assistant head coach on the wrestling team from 1986 to 1994. Jordan has denied these claims, insisting he only recently learned of the allegations against Strauss. The doctor committed suicide in 2005.
Below is a timeline of key dates from Strauss’ career with Ohio State, the university’s ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct, and the claims of Jordan’s knowledge of abuse by former wrestlers. We’ve used the real names of victims who’ve identified themselves.
This timeline will be updated as more information becomes available.
- Dr. Richard Strauss graduates from the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago.
- Strauss begins two years of postdoctoral research in physiology at Washington, according to a resume obtained by The Associated Press. He also volunteers at a free clinic in Seattle.
- Strauss teaches physiology at Penn and works at its hospital’s hyperbaric therapy service, according to a resume obtained by The Associated Press.
- Strauss teaches physiology at Hawaii, according to a resume obtained by The Associated Press. He is also a physician for a clinic in that state.
- Strauss is a medical resident at Rutgers, according to a resume obtained by The Associated Press.
- Strauss is a research fellow at Harvard Medical School as well as Boston’s Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. He is also a fellow in sports medicine at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Boston, according to a resume obtained by The Associated Press.
- Strauss joins Ohio State’s medical staff as an attending physician on Sept. 1, 1978.
- Strauss begins serving as team physician for Ohio State athletics on July 1, 1981. He will remain a team physician through June 30, 1995.
- Jim Jordan, a two-time NCAA wrestling champion during his time as a student-athlete at the University of Wisconsin, joins the Ohio State wrestling team’s coaching staff. He will serve as an assistant coach until 1994.
- Strauss becomes a part-time physician with Ohio State’s Student Health Services on July 1, 1994. He will have this role until Aug. 7, 1996.
- Jordan is elected to the Ohio General Assembly in November 1994 to represent the 85th Ohio House District.
- Strauss establishes a private medical office in Columbus in August 1996.
- Strauss retires as a professor emeritus at Ohio State on July 1, 1998.
- Strauss dies in 2005, and it was later ruled a suicide.
- Jordan is elected the U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 4th congressional district. He will be a founding member of the conservative Freedom Caucus in 2015.
- Ohio State University announces an investigation into the allegations against Strauss on April 5. In a statement, the university reveals it has received several allegations of sexual misconduct:
The investigation includes outreach to former student-athletes, coaches, and others who may have been affected or may have had knowledge of these alleged incidents. Dr. Strauss’ exact dates of service in his role as a wrestling team physician are not precisely known at this time. The best available information is that he served in this role between the mid-1970s and the late 1990s. Making this determination precisely will be a part of the investigation. Dr. Strauss died in 2005.
- Ohio State provides an update on the investigation on May 3. In a statement, the university announces Strauss treated numerous athletes from multiple sports besides wrestling.
Since the April 5 announcement of the allegations and investigation, the university has learned that during his time at Ohio State, Dr. Strauss treated student-athletes from several sports, worked at the medical center, and the student health center. To date, the investigative team has received confidential reports from former Ohio State varsity men student-athletes affiliated with cheerleading, fencing, football, gymnastics, ice hockey, swimming, volleyball, and wrestling. We are sharing this information to encourage our community past and present to come forward.
The statement also acknowledges contact with local law enforcement regarding the allegations.
This matter has been referred to the Columbus Division of Police and the Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for any potential criminal investigation. The Attorney General has committed the resources of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation to assist in any criminal investigation, if requested.
- According to the university statement, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office appointed Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP as legal counsel for the university. Porter Wright then engaged Perkins Coie LLP to conduct an independent investigation.
- Ohio State University announces the expanded scope of the investigation on June 7 after athletes from more than a dozen teams contact Perkins Coie LLP with allegations of sexual misconduct by Strauss.
Perkins Coie now has received confidential reports of sexual misconduct committed by Strauss from former varsity men student-athletes in 14 sports, up from eight previously identified, and from former patients of Student Health Services within the Office of Student Life. The sports include baseball, cheerleading, cross country, fencing, football, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track, volleyball, and wrestling.
In the same announcement, the university states it has received allegations connected to a private medical office in Columbus that Strauss established outside the university in August 1996.
- Multiple former OSU wrestlers come forward to media outlets such as The Associated Press, NBC News, CNN, and Politico with allegations that Jordan was aware of alleged misconduct committed by Strauss during his time on the coaching staff.
Mike DiSabato, an Ohio State wrestler during the period being investigated, tells NBC News in an article published on July 3 that he contacted Jordan about going public with abuse allegations:
“I considered Jim Jordan a friend, but at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on.”
Dunyasha Yetts, another former OSU wrestler, tells NBC News that he shared accounts of abuse with Jordan and then-head coach Russ Hellickson:
“I remember I had a thumb injury and went into Strauss’ office and he started pulling down my wrestling shorts,” he said. “I’m like, what the f--- are you doing? And I went out and told Russ and Jim what happened. I was not having it. They went in and talked to Strauss.”
- Jordan and his supporters respond to the allegations. A day after denying ignoring accounts of abuse through a spokesperson, Jordan speaks with the media on July 4. He again denies prior knowledge of allegations in a CNN interview, and questions the timing of allegations against him.
“The timing makes you wonder. All I know is it’s not true. Nothing said about me was true. And if there was any type of abuse of these folks we want them to get justice — but it’s interesting that the timing is what it is in light of things going on in Washington.”
Former Ohio State wrestling coach Russ Hellickson joins the defense of Jordan, telling the Columbus Dispatch:
“We dealt with many challenges together when he was one of my assistant coaches, and it’s important to know that neither Jim nor I would sidestep or avoid challenges for our wrestlers just because the circumstances were painful or uncomfortable — in fact, those are the kind of circumstances that motivated Jim the most. At no time while Jim Jordan was a coach with me at Ohio State did either of us ignore abuse of our wrestlers.”
- Following Jordan’s denials, more former OSU wrestlers come forward to media outlets including NBC News, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal with additional allegations of abuse by Strauss as well as claims that Jordan had ignored what was happening at the time.
Shawn Dailey, a wrestler at the school in the mid-1990s, tells NBC News in a report published on July 5 that he was “groped a dozen times.” Dailey says he never reported the alleged abuse directly, but did participate in numerous locker room conversations in which Strauss’ alleged actions were openly discussed.
“I participated with Jimmy and the other wrestlers in locker-room talk about Strauss. We all did. It was very common knowledge in the locker room that if you went to Dr. Strauss for anything, you would have to pull your pants down.”
Dailey also corroborates Yetts’ account of him thumb injury, adding:
“Dunyasha comes back and tells Jimmy, ‘Seriously, why do I have to pull down my pants for a thumb injury? Jimmy said something to the extent of, ‘If he tried that with me, I would kill him.’”
- In a statement to the Columbus Dispatch onJuly 7, the Strauss family acknowledges the allegations and indicates it has been in contact with investigators.
“Along with the alleged victims, our family seeks the truth and is fully cooperating with The Ohio State University’s independent investigation.”
- Six former Ohio State wrestling coaches release a joint statement defending Jordan through public relations firm Shirley & Banister Public Affairs on July 9.
“What has been said about Jim Jordan is absolutely wrong. We all worked on the wrestling coaching staff during Jim’s tenure at The Ohio State University. None of us saw or heard of abuse of OSU wrestlers.”
- Jordan lashes out at media outlets for investigating the developing story on July 11.