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Sex abuse inquiry on Ohio State doctor who taught in Hawaii expands to high school

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A 1978 employment application information for Dr. Richard Strauss from Ohio State University personnel files.

COLUMBUS, Ohio >> The firm investigating former athletes’ allegations of sexual misconduct by a now-dead team doctor at Ohio State University also is reviewing whether he examined high school students, the school confirmed Friday.

Because of the ongoing inquiry, Ohio State cannot share details about what prompted independent investigators to look into Richard Strauss’ potential interactions with high school students, university spokesman Benjamin Johnson said.

Male athletes from 14 sports at Ohio State have reported alleged sexual misconduct by Strauss, who was on the faculty and medical staff and published a variety of research.

One study by Strauss and two colleagues looked at weight loss in male amateur wrestlers, including one high school wrestler, according to a 1985 article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It doesn’t specify the wrestlers’ schools or whether or how each of the authors interacted with the athletes.

Strauss died in 2005, and it was ruled a suicide. Messages left by The Associated Press seeking comment from his surviving relatives about the allegations against him haven’t been returned.

Allegations also have been raised about his work in student health services and his private, off-campus medical office later in his career.

Ohio State has not released details about the claims but said more than 150 former students and witnesses have been interviewed so far. The school has urged anyone with information about Strauss to contact the independent investigators from Seattle-based law firm Perkins Coie.

A statement from the school said it is “deeply concerned for everyone who may have been affected by his actions” and remains “steadfastly committed to uncovering the truth.”

The investigators are looking into what happened and what, if anything, the university knew about the allegations.

Strauss joined Ohio State in 1978 and was affiliated with the university in various roles until retiring from the faculty as professor emeritus in 1998.

His Ohio State employment records indicate he previously had researched, taught or practiced medicine at Harvard University, Rutgers University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Washington and the University of Hawaii.

In a note saved in his personnel file, Strauss said he had acted as a part-time team physician at the universities with which he was associated. He didn’t specify the teams with which he worked or in what capacity.

Strauss did postdoctoral research in physiology at Washington from 1968-70, taught at Hawaii from 1972-74 and did one year of medical residency at Rutgers from 1974-75, according to those schools.

His resume said he taught physiology at Penn between 1970-72; was a research fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School and Boston’s Peter Bent Brigham Hospital from 1975-77; and was a fellow in sports medicine at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Boston before moving to Ohio State.

A spokesman for Penn said it has no record of Strauss working with athletics or in clinical care there.

Representatives for Harvard Medical School and what is now Brigham and Women’s Hospital have said they couldn’t provide further information about Strauss’ work or whether any concerns were raised about him.

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