Alleged Strauss victim speaks out on dismissal of lawsuits against Ohio State

Ohio

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – One of the men claiming to be a victim of sexual abuse of Dr. Richard Strauss and whose name is on one of the cases against Ohio State University dismissed Wednesday said he was “disgusted” at how the university conducted itself throughout the process.

“They let this happen to us,” said Steven Snyder-Hill, one of 93 plaintiffs on one of two lawsuits dismissed by federal judge Michael H. Watson. “They covered it up, they hid it, and now they fought us in court. They told the public the whole time, all the time, that we were brave and they were going to do the right thing and it was all a lie.”

More than 300 plaintiffs had active cases against Ohio State University, alleging former OSU Dr. Richard Strauss sexually abused them over a 20-year period, claiming the university had “deliberate indifference” to what was happening.

Strauss was allowed to retire from the university in 1998 after Snyder-Hill made vocal complaints to the university after the abuse he suffered during a physical exam.

A single complaint made just over three years ago opened a floodgate as hundreds of men came forward.

Snyder-Hill said the university at the time insisted he was mistaken and falsely claimed there have been no other complaints about Strauss.

“This has never been about money for me, so I didn’t lose that way,” he said. “That’s not what I care about. What I care about is they got away with it.”

Snyder-Hill said Wednesday that at the outset of the current lawsuits, the university tried to claim Strauss had a clean personnel record.

“I couldn’t be more disgusted by OSU and the way that they conducted themselves, the way that they lied to the public,” he said. “They came out right away and said he was clean with the personnel file. They never explained why they put that out, to make us look like liars. At the same time, they were fighting not to give me information that I knew had happened. So they are just liars and I don’t know how they can recover from this, because they were the one that told the public that we were brave and they were going to lift us up. Go look at the archives. They wanted to lift the survivors up to throw us in the garbage can, which is what they just did in court.”

Mediated settlements averaging $250,000 were reached for more than 200 Strauss victims, but hundreds more were holding out for bigger settlements similar to those received by female sexual assault victims at Michigan State and USC.

“They’re never going to live this down, for their reputation,” Snyder-Hill said. “I won’t let them. I’ll publish a book, telling everything.”

The plaintiffs are considering an appeal.

A statement released by attorneys representing the plaintiffs reads, in part, “It is clear that the only way OSU will enact any meaningful change is through pressing these lawsuits. The insistence on justice for all – and not just a semblance of justice for some – compels our clients to appeal today’s decision and continue their efforts to hold OSU accountable and make the university a safer, more welcoming institution for future generations.”

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