Strauss victims ask judge be recused in Ohio State lawsuits, cases be moved to Cincinnati

Victims of former university health practitioner Richard Strauss have formally requested the judge presiding over

Victims of former university health practitioner Richard Strauss have formally requested the judge presiding over lawsuits towards the college recuse himself. Decide Credit score: Dispatch file photograph/Dispatch through TNS

Victims of previous Ohio State medical doctor Richard Strauss have formally asked for the judge presiding over lawsuits against the college recuse himself — and the cases be moved to the federal court docket in Cincinnati.

In a court docket filing Thursday, attorneys symbolizing extra than 100 men who were being sexually abused by Strauss throughout their time at the college pointed to Judge Michael Watson’s wife’s licensing agreement to market Ohio Point out flags and his position as an adjunct professor at the Moritz Faculty of Legislation as amounting to a financial desire in the university, warranting his recusal. The movement also asks the situations be transferred to Cincinnati as a substitute of to a further judge in the Columbus court docket owing to other judges’ affiliations with the college.

“The fact that the newest on-likely fiscal fascination was only disclosed after a media inquiry and general public revelation is specially regarding,” the movement stated. “And further facts documented in the push — regarding a different deal or contracts for buy of solutions or goods ensuing in immediate financial gain to the judge’s partner — have not disclosed by either the Courtroom or by OSU or in any other case confirmed. These general public reviews make and compound objectively affordable doubts.”

The movement follows a Sept. 9 cellphone simply call with all functions in which Watson disclosed his wife’s licensing arrangement with the college to sell Ohio State flags at her Clintonville, Ohio, retail store, The Flag Lady’s Flag Shop. In accordance to the formal contact transcript, Watson mentioned he did not look at his wife’s affiliation with the university as amounting to a “financial interest” in the college.

In 2019, Watson disclosed his position as an adjunct professor at Ohio State’s Moritz Higher education of Law. Though no get-togethers requested his recusal at the time of his disclosure, the motion to recuse promises his professorship, coupled with his wife’s licensing settlement, amounts to a significant volume of dollars Watson and his family members receive from the college on a annually foundation.

College spokesperson Ben Johnson said in an email Tuesday that Watson’s wife’s shop is 1 of 400 organizations with a non-clothing license, which will have to pay back a 12 percent royalty on all items marketed with Ohio Condition insignia.

Johnson stated the Flag Lady’s Flag Retailer has been a licensee for “decades” and the college acquired significantly less than $16,000 really worth of goods from the company in fiscal yr 2021. The college buys items from about 34,000 vendors.

The movement to recuse states Watson was paid $13,500 in 2021 as an adjunct professor, totalling the university’s money contributions to his spouse and children at $29,500 — about 13.5 p.c of his income of $218,600, according to the U.S. Courts website.

“While a lot of thoughts remain relating to the specifics, the timing and the character of this late-disclosed enterprise undertaking involving OSU and Judge Watson’s wife, and the direct money curiosity described in the Columbus Dispatch, elevate acceptable uncertainties regarding this Court’s skill to oversee this situation in an neutral fashion and induce automated disqualification,” the motion said.

The movement also said a venue modify to Cincinnati would be affordable, as there is no Ohio Condition campus in the city where by there would be much more neutral judges and it is a lot less than two hrs from the most important campus.

In accordance to the motion, each and every decide in the jap division at Columbus has a link to Ohio Point out, leaving them partial to the college in each individual circumstance in which it is concerned.

“To guarantee impartial thought — and to maintain the physical appearance of the same — this circumstance should be moved to Cincinnati, the farthest division from Columbus,” the motion said.

Jessica Orozco contributed reporting.

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