Former Ohio State Student Says Doctor Sexually Abused Him Scott Simon talks to Brian Garrett, a former Ohio State University student who has accused the late Richard Strauss of sexually abusing him when he was at the university in the late 1990s.

Former Ohio State Student Says Doctor Sexually Abused Him

Former Ohio State Student Says Doctor Sexually Abused Him

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Scott Simon talks to Brian Garrett, a former Ohio State University student who has accused the late Richard Strauss of sexually abusing him when he was at the university in the late 1990s.


Ohio State University is under fire over widespread allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse by university employees. Football coach Urban Meyer and athletic director Gene Smith have been suspended for their mishandling of alleged domestic violence by an assistant coach. The school also faces multiple lawsuits from former student athletes who claim the university ignored their complaints of sexual abuse by a former campus doctor. Dr. Richard Strauss has been accused of abusing and harassing more than 100 students and athletes over his 20 years at OSU. Strauss killed himself in 2005.

Brian Garrett recently came forward with his story. Mr. Garrett was a nursing student at Ohio State in the late 1990s when he says he was abused by Strauss. We spoke with him from Columbus, Ohio. And please note - this interview contains graphic descriptions of incidents of sexual abuse. Mr. Garrett, thank you for speaking with us.

BRIAN GARRETT: You're welcome.

SIMON: What happened to you?

GARRETT: I was a senior nursing student at Ohio State in the spring semester of 1996. And a roommate of mine - he was also a nursing student - was recruited by Dr. Strauss on campus at Larkins Hall to come work for a Men's Clinic of America. He said he was going to start up a clinic off campus. So we agreed to help him start up this work clinic and work as administrative staff. And we weren't working as nurses. We were nursing students at the time. Sorry, it's hard to talk about it.

SIMON: Sure.

GARRETT: But he asked me to come into a room and watch an examination he was doing on a patient, who was a student at the University. He started examining this gentleman, and his penis became erect. And I was standing over in the corner. And then during the exam he said, hey, why don't you come closer? And I thought that was kind of weird. I don't know why he needed to come closer. He kept examining the guy. And I still can't get the look of the guy's face - patient's face out of my head. He was - just looked red. And his face was red, and he was embarrassed.

So then after that patient left, he, you know, asked me if I had anything wrong with me. And I said, hey, I have heartburn. But what college student doesn't - drinking beer and eating pizza. And so he said, well, let me check you out. And he said lay down the table. And he starts standing over me. He starts pushing around my stomach. And does it hurt here? Does it hurt here? No, no, no. Next thing you know, he's pulling down my pants. And I'm like, what are you doing? He's like, oh, I'm checking for some things down here.

And again, I'm laying there in shock. I don't know what - I don't know - it's still hard to talk about. About five or 10 minutes, he's just fondling around, doing whatever he's doing. And I'm just laying there in shock - going, I just can't wait to get this over. I just want this to stop. And after that, I just told my friends - I had a couple other nursing student friends that worked there as administrative staff. And I just told them I wasn't going back. But I didn't tell them. I was embarrassed. You know, I didn't tell my wife.

So people ask me why did I come out now. And coming out now because Ohio State asked us to - because my goal in all of this is to get this to stop. If nobody comes forward and doesn't stop, I'm going to send my kids to college - all my friends are going to send their kids to college - if everybody stops talking and shuts up, then this doesn't change.

SIMON: Thank you for telling us that story, Mr. Garrett. I have to ask - we noted there has been the suspension of Coach Meyer and the athletic director Gene Smith for allegations of sexual misconduct by a diving coach. What does this say about OSU?

GARRETT: I watched the press conference on - it was a couple of evenings ago with my family. And I was hoping for Gene Smith to be fired because Ohio State, in my opinion, has an athletic director problem.

SIMON: Yeah.

GARRETT: The athletic director at the time when I went to Ohio State was Andy Geiger. And if you read his public comments, he, in my opinion, covered it up and didn't do anything about it. And that culture has continued. There's a systemic failure at Ohio State.

SIMON: What happened with Dr. Strauss was upsetting. It was one night in your life. How has it stayed with you over the years? What's it done to your life since then?

GARRETT: So that building was fairly close to campus. And so for the next probably three, four or five years, you know, I went by that building a lot. It was hard to relive what's going in there. Again, you just kind of bottle it up and put it away. I'm, you know, upset with Ohio State. But I'm upset with Strauss, but he's dead. So I'm even more upset that Ohio State, a large institution that I have significant ties to and that I - you know, I met my wife there, asked her to marry me, have lots of friends from there. I've donated my time, donated money. And now I'm finding out that they failed me.

When the box opened back up on Memorial Day, I've had trouble sleeping at night. I sometimes wake up the middle of the night and see him standing over me doing what he's doing. And I still - there's one picture of him on the - a local TV station and Columbus' website - a color picture that I can't look at. If I see it, I just get sick to my stomach. So the box has been opened back up now, and it's been a struggle.

SIMON: What would you like the university to do at this point in your life?

GARRETT: First thing I'd like to see them do is take accountability for it. I've heard several public comments by university officials where they've stated, well, that happened 20 or 30 years ago, and none of the people that were around that are here now. But it's evident they still have a systemic problem. I just want to see them accept responsibility. And I want to see the culture change. And then I want to see what the plan is to change that culture.

SIMON: Brian Garrett in Columbus, Ohio. Thanks so much for being with us.

GARRETT: You're welcome, sir.


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