Lawsuit alleges health center director failed to act in Ohio State sexual abuse case

By Brian Munoz, Editor in Chief

The director of SIU Student Health Services has been blamed in a federal lawsuit against his former employer for failing to protect students from sexual abuse by an Ohio State University doctor in the late 1990s. 

The lawsuit, filed by former Ohio State students in November, does not name Ted Grace, director of the SIU Student Health Center, as a defendant. It alleges the late Dr. Richard H. Strauss abused an estimated 1,500 to 2,500 male students from 1978 to 1998 at Ohio State University and claims Grace knew of Strauss’ misconduct and failed to act.

Grace declined to comment on his role in the case on the advice of his counsel. Rae Goldsmith, Southern Illinois University spokeswoman, declined to comment. The lawsuit names Ohio State as the defendant and seeks damages to be determined at a jury trial. 



Grace served as the director of the Ohio State Student Health Center for 15 years, according to according to an SIU press release from when he was hired in May 2008.

In the lawsuit, Steve Snyder-Hill, who was a student at Ohio State in the 1990s, claims he reported his abuse by Strauss and said Grace did not act.

Snyder-Hill said he went to see Strauss after noticing a lump on his chest, according to the lawsuit.

In an interview with the Columbus Dispatch, Snyder-Hill said he recalls Strauss examining his genitals before examining the lump on his chest. When the physician did examine his chest, Strauss allegedly pushed his body against his and Snyder-Hill felt Strauss had an erection.

Strauss insisted both a testicular and rectal exam were necessary and he performed both on Snyder-Hill before checking the lump in his chest, according to the lawsuit.

Snyder-Hill said that he felt uncomfortable about what had occured and reported the incident to a nurse. Later that month, Snyder-Hill said Grace called him saying Strauss “was just doing his job” during the exam, according to the lawsuit.

“I want to assure you that we had never received a complaint about Dr. Strauss before, although we have had several positive comments,” Grace then wrote to Snyder-Hill in a January 1995 letter following the call, according to the lawsuit.

Snyder-Hill said he didn’t know there had been previous complaints because, the lawsuit claims, Grace falsely told him no one had complained about Strauss.

The allegations date from the period 1979 to 1997 and were reported to an independent team of investigators by former athletes – including varsity men student-athletes in 14 sports – and by former patients of Student Health Services, according to a July OSU press release.

During his time at Ohio State, Strauss treated student-athletes from several varsity sports, worked at the medical center and treated patients at the student health center.

To date, more than 440 former students and university staff believed to have information concerning allegations involving Strauss have been interviewed, according to the Ohio State University Office of Compliance.

Investigators are also exploring allegations that Strauss abused patients at a private practice in Columbus in the 1990s and whether Strauss examined high-school athletes during his time with the university, Columbus-Dispatch journalist Jennifer Smola reports.

The U.S. Department of Education opened an investigation into Ohio State University’s handling of allegations of sexual misconduct involving Strauss in August.

The investigation at Ohio State follows other high-profile cases such as the case of Larry Nassar, the Michigan State and USA Gymnastics doctor convicted of molesting athletes under his care.

Before taking the reins of the health center at SIU, Grace served at the senior director of disaster preparedness and health safety at Ohio State.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Editor in Chief Brian Munoz can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @BrianMMunoz.

To stay up to date with all your Southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.