A former Buckeye wrestler, who is choosing to remain anonymous, says Ohio State’s refusal to negotiate a “good faith” settlement to the numerous Strauss lawsuits has created great turmoil in his life.
John Doe No. 46 is trying to understand why OSU sat idly by as he and hundreds of other student-athletes were preyed upon by predator-doctor Richard Strauss.
Since learning the extent of Strauss’ abuse, John has developed anxiety, depression and has trouble sleeping.
“I don't want to take sleeping pills, I don't want to take drugs, so it is kind of what it is,” John said. “I talked to one of my teammates not too long ago and said, ‘You know, I've got to put this behind me. I have to move forward.’ It’s even worse with COVID – you’re locked up in your house – and then I start seeing it on the news again. The big thing for me is it's been a long, long three years. I just want to move on. I just want to move forward and put it behind me and get on with my life.”
It is – and isn’t – about the money
But John says he can’t do that until the lawsuits are settled. From his perspective, a settlement must include individual apologies and more money than what’s been previously offered by OSU.
“For me, this is not really about money,” he said. “It is about the difference between right and wrong and the fact that there were so many people affected. And yet Ohio State wants to sit back and play games.”
Conversely, there’s a part of John that believes the case really does boil down to money.
“This needs to be an expensive lesson for Ohio State, which will help reassure victims that it won’t happen again,” he said. “Is that going to make me happy and is that going to change my life? No, because it's never going to go away. I mean, I could have settled and put this behind me but my friends are still going to be involved. I'm still going to see it on the news and, quite frankly, there's a part of me that knows I will never forget.”
The apology that John is seeking needs to be “sincere.”
“I want them to apologize to me personally and every one of my teammates,” he said. “That can come from the president or whomever they see fit. But somebody needs to acknowledge the fact that this happened to – I don't even know what the total number is, hundreds and hundreds of kids. It just seems a little insincere to make it a vague apology. To me, they owe that to every single victim.”
John says Strauss’s abuse has made him a very protective parent, especially since his kids are involved in organized sports.
“I'm kind of the bad guy because I am very protective of my kids and my wife, I guess, is the good guy,” he said. “I'm the one who always has to make the hard decisions about, ‘Hey, can we do this? Can we do that?’ I am hypersensitive to my kids being around coaches and I always want to know where they are and what they're doing.”
A message for the board of trustees
“I would ask the board of trustees, ‘What if you had an 18-, 19-, 20- or 21-year-old kid and he or she were put in an abusive situation? And I'm not just talking about inappropriate exams from Strauss, I'm talking about an environment where pedophiles were waiting in Larkins Hall every day to shower with us. This was not a one-time thing, this was calculated – these were grown men who were lying in wait for us. Now, what would you do if you were on the board of trustees and I asked you that? What if you had a child who was put in that situation? I mean, how would you feel if that was your child? And then they turn around and try to hide it and act like it didn't happen. Really?”
Despite the turmoil caused by the Strauss scandal, John is determined to find justice for all of Strauss’s victims.
“I'm a wrestler. I'm not going to quit,” he said. “I'm going to move forward and I'm going to see this through to the end.”