Sexual abuse whistleblower calls OSU revelations "the tip of the iceberg"

Former Ohio State University athlete says team doctor molested him and perhaps more than 1000 other athletes.

Tom Bosco
June 8, 2018

COLUMBUS — The man who's claims of sexual abuse at the hands of a team physician for Ohio State University called revelations yesterday by the school "the tip of the iceberg" in the developing scandal.

Mike DiSabato said he expects the number of former students to claim abuse by Dr. Richard Strauss to number "well over a thousand."

DiSabato said Strauss molested him and other student athletes while the doctor was with the university, from 1981 until 1996. Strauss died in 2005. The university is conducting an outside investigation, led by a local law firm. Yesterday, OSU said interviews have been conducted or scheduled with 130 former students claiming abuse. The students stretch across 14 sports.

"There's a lot more coming," DiSabato claimed. "This is the tip of the iceberg."

A review of Strauss' personnel file shows nothing but glowing comments from deans and administrators during his time at OSU. But DiSabato claimed the university knew about the allegations and did nothing.

"The highest levels of the Athletic Department knew that there were issues with this specific doctor," he said.

The university would not comment on DiSabato's claims directly, but pointed to one of the state goals of the investigation: to find out who knew what about Strauss.

"These are deeply troubling allegations and we are committed to get to the bottom of this," Michael Drake, OSU president, said to the university trustees yesterday.

Andy Gieger was athletic director during Strauss' last years at OSU. When contacted Gieger said he had never heard of Strauss and sexual abuse claims against the doctor "didn't ring a bell."

Ron O'Brien, Franklin County Prosecutor, said if the outside law firm investigating the matter finds evidence of a cover-up, they could forward their findings to him. But O'Brien pointed out there's a chance the statute of limitations may have run out on any alleged crimes.