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Replacement named for disgraced former Student Health Services director tied to Ohio State sex scandal
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Replacement named for disgraced former Student Health Services director tied to Ohio State sex scandal

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CARBONDALE — Southern Illinois University Carbondale has announced a replacement for Ted Grace, the disgraced ex-director of Student Health Services who agreed to surrender his Ohio medical license Wednesday. 

Grace notified the university of his intention to resign March 12, university officials confirmed Thursday. His resignation followed questions about his role in an alleged sexual abuse cover up scandal in Ohio.

Dr. Jaime Clark will serve as acting director while a national search for a permanent director is implemented, Kim Rendfeld, spokesperson for SIUC, said in an email Thursday.

Rendfeld said Clark is director of Counseling and Psychological Services and associate director of SHS. She has been employed at SIU since 2006, when she served as a postdoctoral intern, and has worked with a diverse caseload of clients on a variety of issues, Rendfeld said.

Grace had worked for SIU for 13 years.

The State Medical Board of Ohio had announced last July that it planned to determine whether it would reprimand Grace for his oversight of Richard Strauss.

April 14 the State Medical Board of Ohio and Ted Grace came to an agreement that he would surrender his medical license.

Jerica Stewart, a spokesperson for the board, said this is a permanent surrender of his medical license, “meaning that Ted Grace will no longer be permitted to practice medicine and surgery in any form or manner in the State of Ohio.”

Shari Rhode, Grace’s attorney, did not immediately respond for comment.

Grace was responsible for overseeing Strauss, a serial predator and former Ohio State University physician. Strauss, who died by suicide in 2005, has since been exposed for using his position of trust within the health clinic and as the physician for sports teams to sexually abuse dozens of students under the guise of providing medical care during his tenure at the university, which spanned from 1978 to 1998.

An independent investigation conducted on behalf of Ohio State, released in May 2019, found Strauss had abused at least 177 male patients whom he was charged with treating at the university. His inappropriate touching during exams was a topic of frequent conversations, especially in the athletics department, reflected in commonly used nicknames for Strauss that included “Dr. Jelly Paws,” “Dr. Soft Hands” and “Dr. Cough,” according to a recently unsealed federal complaint.

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Grace, in his then-role as director of Student Health Services, supervised Strauss’ part-time work treating students at Ohio State’s Student Health Center between August 1992 and January 1996. Grace did not oversee Strauss’ medical services to athletics.

The medical board claims that Grace became aware of an initial student complaint against Strauss in January 1995 “in which a male OSU student alleged that Dr. Strauss had performed an inappropriately long and invasive exam of his genital area.”

The medical board claimed Grace made a false statement to a student who was sexually abused by Strauss a few days later, that same month, when he told the student that his complaint was the first Grace had received about Strauss.

The board wrote, based on statements Grace made in a deposition for the board, that while he verbally warned Strauss in 1995 concerning his conduct, he did not notify the oversight entity about Strauss’ conduct as he should have done. Ohio law mandates that any physician who suspects another of misconduct must report it to the State Medical Board of Ohio.

In January 1996, Grace suspended Strauss from providing clinical treatment to students at the university after becoming aware of a third student complaint of his sexual assault in a year. But the Ohio medical board alleges that Grace, once again, did not report Strauss.

Grace’s attorney, Shari Rhode, previously told The Southern last year that Grace provided information concerning Strauss to the Ohio medical board nearly 25 years ago — and said it was the board that failed to take any action. She said the board appears to be attempting to make Grace a scapegoat for its own failures.

Document 1 (5 pages): A 1996 memo from Ted Grace, former director of Student Health Services at The Ohio State University, to fellow OSU administrators describing misconduct by OSU physician Richard Strauss. Document 2 (3 pages): Strauss' rebuttals to complaints against him. Document 3 (6 pages): Grace's reply to Strauss' rebuttal. Document 4 (2 pages): Communication from former OSU General Counsel for Employment and Human Resources, Helen Ninos, analyzing complaints against Strauss and recommending he be removed from Student Health Services. The documents were provided to The Southern by Stephen Snyder-Hill, who obtained them via Freedom of Information Act request.

As reported by the Associated Press, Strauss retired in 1998, but allegations about his misconduct didn't become public until an ex-wrestler spoke out in 2018 — years after Strauss' death. Ohio State apologized publicly after an investigation conducted for the school concluded Strauss’ misconduct occurred in his work with various athletic teams, the health center and an off-campus clinic.

No one has since defended Strauss publicly.

Roughly 400 men have sued the university over its failure to stop him despite students raising concerns with school employees as early as 1979. Many of the men say they were groped during exams.

The university has pledged a “monetary resolution” for those Strauss harmed. It has reached nearly $47 million in settlements for 185 of the plaintiffs.

More lawsuits are pending. Some of those accusers have argued they deserve compensation more comparable to other major sexual abuse scandals in higher education, such as Michigan State’s $500 million settlement for the 500-plus female victims of imprisoned sports doctor Larry Nassar or the University of Southern California's $852 million settlement with over 700 women who accused a campus gynecologist of sexual abuse.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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isaac.smith@thesouthern.com

618-351-5823

On Twitter: @ismithreports

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