Michigan News Anchor Shares His Story of Sexual Abuse at Ohio State [VIDEO]
A prominent news anchor in Grand Rapids is opening up about the personal Hell he went through as a student at Ohio State University. Mike Avery was one of the hundreds of men who were sexually abused at the hand of the school's wrestling team doctor, Dr. Richard Strauss.
Avery, a morning news anchor at Grand Rapids TV station Fox 17, was a lacrosse player at OSU from 1988 to 1991. He says Strauss' abuse is something he's kept hidden away inside for decades.
“No physical I’d ever known went on like this,“ he said. “I remember saying to one of my teammates afterward, I think I was just assaulted.”
In May, the Perkins Coie law firm released a report that concluded coaches and athletic administrators at the school were aware of Strauss' abuse but failed to speak up. So far, 177 students have come forward saying they were abused. There have been well over one hundred lawsuits filed against the school.
Avery says he feared that Strauss could take away everything he had worked for as a student and a lacrosse player if he said anything.
"I just buried it. because who was I going to tell?” he said. “You look at us, we’re all Division I athletes and this doctor is doing these things. And people would say, ‘Well, why didn’t you just knock him out?’ He had the power."
He says the abuse made it difficult for him to form relationships and trust people.
“My wife and I have had trouble with our marriage,” he said. “It caused problems I didn’t expect to have to deal with.”
Avery now knows the importance of speaking up and encourages victims to report their abusers.
“If somebody wrongs you, you need to speak up and do something about it," he said. "I didn’t. I kept it to myself for 30 years. So, it’s important that you speak up and say something.”
The Perkins Coie report states that 22 coaches were aware of rumors or complaints about Strauss during his days at Ohio State. Richard Strauss took his own life in 2005.
NBC News spoke with Avery and two other victims in a video which can be seen here.
Sexual assault victims can seek help by calling the National Sexual Abuse Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.