(COLUMBUS, Ohio) March 10, 2021 – Today, the Working Group on Reviewing of the Medical Board’s Handling of the Investigation Involving Richard Strauss delivered its closing report to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.
After reviewing the working group’s initial report and recommendations, Governor DeWine called on the State Medical Board of Ohio in August 2019 to conduct a thorough review of all sexual assault allegations against physicians and other licensed medical personnel that were investigated and closed without action over the past 25 years. As a result, the medical board identified 1,254 closed sexual impropriety cases and is reexamining 91 cases as active sexual impropriety investigations.
“I appreciate the working group and the medical board’s efforts to thoroughly review these cases and re-examine cases those that should not have been closed,” said Governor DeWine.
Governor DeWine also requested that the medical board identify any Ohio medical license holders who knew or suspected Strauss’ criminal misconduct and investigate whether there were actionable failures to report. The board staff recommended that an additional 42 cases be reopened for failure to report, including an investigation against Ted Grace, former director of Ohio State’s Student Health Services, for a failure to report Strauss in the 1990s.
“This closing report is a culmination of the hard work and support of many- the working group members, their staff, the medical board, and the other health care boards, and I am grateful for their willingness to critically review and improve existing law and policies and for their collaborative efforts,” said working group chair and Ohio Department of Public Safety Director Tom Stickrath.
The medical board also adopted a mandatory reporting rule for its staff who become aware of potential sexual impropriety by licensees or a licensee’s failure in the duty to report sexual impropriety.
Governor DeWine created the working group by Executive Order in May 2019 to review the medical board’s 1996 investigation after a separate investigation commissioned by Ohio State found that Strauss, who committed suicide in 2005, sexually assaulted at least 177 male students while working as a doctor in Ohio State’s athletic department and/or student health center from the late 1970s to mid-1990s.
“On behalf of the State Medical Board of Ohio board members and staff, I would like to thank the Governor, Director Stickrath, and the Governor’s Working Group for their efforts to make us a better board. We are grateful for the Working Group’s partnership, as we have marched together to implement policies that make the citizens of Ohio safer and more secure,” said Dr. Michael Schottenstein, past President and current member of the medical board. “We understand that our work is ongoing, and we will continue to be vigilant in our mission to protect the public and provide the maximum possible transparency in our processes as we proceed. We are hopeful that through the Working Group’s efforts, we are positioned to become a national leader in our ongoing efforts to combat sexual misconduct.”
To support the future investigations of all included health care boards, the closing report includes recommended continued collaboration to aid in the improvement of all of the health care boards as well as minimum standards on future training for investigator and enforcement staff.