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Make sure it never happens again

When an institution has a decades-long pattern of covering up or failing to acknowledge abuse by one of its own, it is necessary for both the wellbeing of the victims AND of that institution to do everything possible to set the situation right. We see the degree to which institutions ranging from the Catholic Church to Penn State University have worked to restore trust and make amends.

Ohio State University, on the other hand, still has work to do. An investigation conducted by a law firm hired by Ohio State concluded the university knew about and failed to act on decades of sexual abuse of student athletes by former team doctor Richard Strauss.

The more than 200 plaintiffs in lawsuits filed against the university are right to ask for help from the NCAA and the Big Ten athletic conference — and not just because they are seeking greater monetary compensation for their suffering. According to the Associated Press, Ohio State paid out much less than the average payouts by Penn State in the Jerry Sandusky case and by Michigan State for hundreds of victims of imprisoned gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Both of those institutions also dealt with non-financial sanctions.

“I think it’s time for them to step up and protect the athletes, both of yesterday and of today,” said Mike Murphy, a former pole vaulter who says he was abused by Strauss in the late 1980s.

While there is some argument to made that the difference for Ohio State is that Strauss is deceased and was never convicted of a crime, it bears repeating the law firm the university hired agrees with the plaintiffs that Ohio State knew what was happening and did not stop it.

As one plaintiff put it, punitive measures should be great enough to ensure such a thing never happens again at Ohio State. If it takes outside help to make that happen, so be it.

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