Mike DiSabato, an NCAA All-American wrestler who competed for Ohio State University from 1987 – 1991, and at least 6 other OSU wrestlers have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse by former OSU team doctor Richard Strauss. Several of the accusers claim that Jim Jordan, OSU assistant wrestling coach from 1986 – 1994, and Russ Hellickson, OSU head wrestling coach from 1986 – 2006, were aware of the sexual assault.
DiSabato has released a video that shows Hellickson stating that Strauss was too hands on with student athletes. The video also shows Hellickson saying that Strauss would often shower at the same time as the wrestlers and other athletes, making them uncomfortable, and that he had talked to Strauss about physical contact with the wrestlers.
In the video, Hellickson says, “I told him one time, I said, ‘Doctor you’re much too hands on,’ and he just said ‘Oh, I’m being thorough.’”
The video shows Hellickson stating that he spoke to OSU officials about the showering issues. Hellickson says, “Certainly, all of my administrators recognized that it was an issue for me. I’m sure that I talked to all of them on numerous occasions about my discontent with the environment.” Hellickson goes on to say that nothing changed at OSU after he spoke to OSU employees.
In addition to showing Hellickson being interviewed, the video shows DiSabato and 2 other former OSU students stating that Strauss sexually abused them during medical examinations.
OSU officials have seen the video, according to a member of OSU’s communications department.
In a previous post, we discussed what a former OSU wrestler, Dunyasha Yetts, told reporters. Yetts claims that Strauss groped him at least 3 times during routine exams in the early to mid-1990’s. Yetts told Jordan about the groping in 1992, and he also directly told Jordan and Hellickson of the abuse, but coaches did not report it. Yetts claims that he and his teammates spoke to Jordan numerous times about Strauss’s behavior.
Several former OSU athletes have told reporters that Jordan must have known that Strauss was sexually abusing athletes. The former athletes said it was “common knowledge” that Strauss would take showers with the wrestling team, even though he was not involved in any workouts. Jordan’s locker was right next to Strauss’s locker. One former wrestler said that Strauss would linger in the locker room, naked, and stare at the genitals of the student athletes. Hellickson has stated that Strauss would often shower in the athletes’ locker room for an hour or so.
Another former OSU wrestler has told reporters that “everybody used to snicker about how you go into his [Strauss’s] office for a sore shoulder and he tells you to take your pants down.”
One former OSU athlete, who says he was examined by Strauss in 1994, told reporters that Strauss straddled and mounted his thigh, and that Strauss asked him to get naked so he could assess for a hernia. The former athlete said that Strauss then “inspected his penis in detail” for a long time. Strauss examined this athlete again in 1995, and this time, Strauss spent 15 minutes inspecting the student athlete’s genitalia very closely. In 1996, when this former athlete was given a sports physical exam by a different physician, the exam was extremely different; it lasted only 5 minutes, and he wasn’t asked to get naked.
Strauss committed suicide in 2005. Jim Jordan has been performing his current job as a public servant since 2007. Jordan maintains that all the OSU athletes who claim he was aware of the sexual abuse are lying.
Grewal Law and its personal injury division, Church Wyble, have unique experience in handling sexual assault claims. Mick Grewal, David Mittleman, and their team of dedicated attorneys currently represent 111 of the 333 plaintiff-survivors in lawsuits filed against Larry Nassar, Michigan State University and others. Grewal Law and Church Wyble were instrumental in reaching the $500,000,000 settlement with MSU and its current and former employees.
The sexual assault attorneys at Grewal Law / Church Wyble, P.C. have been fighting for the rights of victims for decades, and they have made it their mission to stop institutional involvement in sexual assault. The lawyers at Grewal Law / Church Wyble, P.C. understand what it takes to prevail against large universities and corporations. Please contact the firm’s experienced lawyers for information regarding sexual assault support groups, and / or for a free consultation. The owner of the firm, Mick Grewal, is available 24/7 for his clients.
Growing up in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, Nolan Erickson began working at Church Wyble PC in 2007 as a law clerk. Now as an attorney with Grewal Law, Mr. Erickson has developed extensive experience with all phases of trial and pre-trial resolution of personal injury matters, including major auto accident, medical malpractice, and other serious injury cases.