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Whistleblower alleging sex abuse at Ohio State is wanted man

  • Ohio-State-Team-Doctor-Whistleblower

    Michael DiSabato exhales after finishing his remarks about an alleged sexual assault by Ohio State team doctor Dr. Richard Strauss and his advocacy for student athletes during an Ohio State University Board of Trustees meeting at the Longaberger Alumni House in Columbus on Nov. 16. A warrant was issued for DiSabato after he did not show up Friday in Franklin County Municipal Court. He is charged with telecommunications harassment of a university administrator who criticized him. DiSabato contends he is the one being harassed.

    ADAM CAIRNS / COLUMBUS DISPATCH VIA AP, FILE

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COLUMBUS — The man whose complaints helped spur an investigation into alleged, decades-old sexual abuse by an Ohio State team doctor is a wanted man in Columbus after missing a court date that he said he thought was postponed.

A warrant was issued for Mike DiSabato, of suburban Dublin, after he didn't show up Friday in Franklin County Municipal Court.

He is charged with telecommunications harassment of a university-affiliated administrator who criticized him. DiSabato contends he's the one being harassed.

Prosecutors were set to argue that DiSabato sent emails to university officials that violated a no-contact provision of his bond and that it should be revoked.

Defense attorney Rocky Ratliff said DiSabato sent information to a police officer, and university officials were copied on the message.

As for the court date, Ratliff said someone at the court had told his office the bond matter was to be dealt with at a hearing scheduled for next week. He and DiSabato said they didn't intend to skip court and will try to resolve the warrant issue next week.

The man DiSabato is accused of harassing, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center director of development Matthew Finkes, declined to comment on the case, saying only that he wants DiSabato to leave him alone.

DiSabato and Ratliff contend Finkes, a former football player, has essentially retaliated against a sexual-abuse whistleblower by making disparaging public comments about DiSabato, including on a radio show. They said they're eager to discuss the details of the case in court.

"I'm the whistleblower, and he's the aggressor — let's be clear," DiSabato said Friday after The Associated Press informed him about the warrant.

DiSabato, a former Buckeyes wrestler, has been perhaps the loudest voice among the ex-athletes and other men alleging they were unnecessarily groped and ogled by now-deceased Dr. Richard Strauss. He also is among those who have sued the school with allegations that officials there ignored alleged sexual misconduct by Strauss in the two decades the doctor worked there.

DiSabato raised allegations about Strauss last spring with Ohio State, which hired a law firm to conduct a pending investigation .

In recent months, at least 150 people have provided firsthand accounts of sexual misconduct by Strauss between 1979 and 1997. Those allegations involve male athletes from at least 16 sports, plus Strauss' work at the student health center and his off-campus medical office .

DiSabato also has spoken with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, which is conducting a related investigation about whether the university responded properly to concerns raised about Strauss during his tenure.

The doctor killed himself in 2005. His family expressed shock at the allegations but hasn't responded to further requests for comment. No one else has publicly defended Strauss.

Employment records shared by the university note no major concerns about Strauss, but alumni say they complained about the physician as far back as the late 1970s.



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