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Judge unpauses litigation over sex abuse by Ohio State doc

April 17, 2020 GMT
FILE – This undated file photo shows a photo of Dr. Richard Strauss, an Ohio State University team doctor who was accused of sexual abuse by former athletes. Ohio State reached an unspecified settlement, on Friday, March 6, 2020, with nearly half of the roughly 350 men alleging university officials ignored complaints and failed to stop the team doctor who they say sexually abused athletes and other students throughout his two decades there. (Ohio State University via AP, File)
FILE – This undated file photo shows a photo of Dr. Richard Strauss, an Ohio State University team doctor who was accused of sexual abuse by former athletes. Ohio State reached an unspecified settlement, on Friday, March 6, 2020, with nearly half of the roughly 350 men alleging university officials ignored complaints and failed to stop the team doctor who they say sexually abused athletes and other students throughout his two decades there. (Ohio State University via AP, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal judge on Friday partly unpaused litigation against Ohio State University over decades-old sexual abuse by a team doctor, while making clear that mediation toward possible settlements should continue as the lawsuits proceed.

More than 350 former athletes and other men alleging mistreatment by the late Richard Strauss sued the school for failing to stop the doctor despite concerns raised during his tenure, but much of the legal action has been on hold as the cases were in mediation.

Ohio State announced last month that it reached a settlement with nearly half the men; details weren’t disclosed. Some of the other accusers had asked the judge to let them resume litigation.

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Judge Michael Watson’s order said he was recently notified by the mediator “that the situation warranted parallel mediation and litigation efforts.”

Lawyers for many remaining plaintiffs have accused the university of not mediating in good faith. Ohio State spokesmen emphatically deny that.

University officials have publicly apologized to those harmed by Strauss and have said they are committed to a “monetary resolution.” They aren’t commenting on the judge’s latest order.

Attorney Rex Sharp, who represents some of the plaintiffs, called the order “a positive development” and said in an emailed statement that they “look forward to their day in court to hold OSU accountable for its deliberate indifference.”