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Investigation Finds Long History of Sexual Misconduct by Ohio Doctors

Male doctor with stethoscope against a dark background

When people need a medical examination or treatment, they put their trust in physicians. They trust that a doctor will make their health a top priority. They trust that their privacy will be respected. And they trust that they will be treated with dignity and respect.

But there are some doctors who abuse that trust. In Ohio, one of the most infamous examples is Dr. Richard Strauss, who has been accused of sexually abusing at least 177 patients while working at Ohio State University.

Troubling findings in newspaper probe

We like to think that such behavior are isolated incidents. But an investigation by the Columbus Dispatch has found that sexual abuse or harassment by medical professionals has been a widespread problem in Ohio for decades.

Reporters for the newspaper launched a probe after a state investigation found that the State Medical Board of Ohio had botched the handling of accusations against Strauss. How did they handle accusations against other doctors?

They found that hundreds of physicians in the state had sexually abused or harassed hundreds of patients over the last 42 years. Their investigation also found that the state medical board did not do enough to warn the public about serial sexual abusers and harassers.

Records describe sexual misconduct allegations

Reporters examined tens of thousands of board disciplinary records spanning decades and discovered a very wide range of sexual misconduct allegations. They include:

  • Doctors raping and fondling patients who were under anesthesia
  • Physicians asking patients out on dates during exams
  • Sexually suggestive comments
  • Doctors pleasuring themselves in front of patients

In some cases, doctors refused patient requests for chaperones, and victims said the abuse or harassment occurred behind doors that were closed or locked.

In all, the reporters found that 256 Ohio doctors had been disciplined for sexual misconduct since 1980, and 199 of those had “raped, assaulted, kissed, fondled, seduced, harassed or had sex with” at least 449 patients.

At least 56 of those doctors are still practicing.

There were likely other cases that were never reported or investigated.

The devastating impact of sexual abuse on victims can be physical, emotional, and psychological. Survivors struggle with what happened to them for years.

An experienced attorney can help

Whether or not their abusers face criminal charges, victims have a right to take legal action to seek justice. While nothing can change what happened, filing a lawsuit is a way to hold abusive medical professionals accountable.

If you were the victim of sexual misconduct by an Ohio doctor, an experienced Columbus personal injury attorney can:

  • Thoroughly investigate what happened
  • Consult medical experts and other specialists
  • File a lawsuit on your behalf if necessary
  • Negotiate with hospitals, insurance companies, or their attorneys
  • Represent you in all legal proceedings regarding your claim.

It’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible. In Ohio, you have a limited time to take legal action against medical professionals, which may be as little as one year.

At the Central Ohio law firm of Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, our attorneys understand that you may not be sure what to do next. We can discuss your legal options, answer your questions, and address your concerns during a free consultation at our Columbus office. There’s no cost and no obligation. Contact us today to schedule a time that works for you.

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Charleston, WV

Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC
10 Hale St Suite 501
Charleston, WV 25301
Phone: (304) 720-1000

Columbus, OH

Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC
20 E Broad St Suite 1000
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 587-8423