An independent investigation by the Columbus Barnes & Thornburg law firm, which interviewed 117 current and former Ohio State soccer players and 44 current and former State of Ohio coaches and staff Ohio, revealed that she “had implemented a ploy to what seemed to satisfy her personal infatuation with Ohio State Student Football Athletes.” ”
Although the investigation “did not reveal” that its “interactions with student football athletes reached the level of crimes,” the state of Ohio said it shared the report with the county attorney’s office. by Franklin.
Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith said the university also sent the report to the NCAA and the Big Ten, but the NCAA already agreed with the state’s position Ohio that the players were not receiving any benefits that would constitute NCAA violations, which the investigation report also determined.
The massage therapist personally received two letters from Smith and Ohio State Public Safety Director Monica Moll, dated Thursday, which alerted her to the State of l He and Ohio forbade contacting track and field program members by any means, buying tickets, using free tickets. and donate to the university. They also informed her of her ban from campus and that she would be arrested for trespassing if she disobeyed.
The investigation stemmed from a complaint filed with the Ohio State Medical Board on March 14, 2020, that “a licensed massage therapist was providing free therapeutic massages to members of the Ohio State University football team, in using these massages as a means. to initiate sexual interactions with some of the student football athletes and then demand payment. No information was found in the investigation indicating that employees in the state of Ohio were aware of the behavior of the massage therapist until March 2021.
According to the investigation report:
The massage therapist’s conduct targeted OSU student football athletes who were young (18 to early 20s), but evidence uncovered during the investigation did not reveal that her interactions with the athletes football students had reached the level of crimes. According to current and former student football athletes interviewed, the sexual activities that took place were consensual. Additionally, in cases where she has attempted to initiate sexual activity during massage (eg, when she had brief contact with their genitals while giving them massages), these student football athletes called the touching an incident and said that although they were unwanted, she stopped the inappropriate contact when the student football athletes clashed.
The massage therapist had no connection with OSU, its athletics department, or anyone related to the university. The investigation found no evidence that the massage therapist acted or acted on behalf of any agent or any particular person or entity in professional or college sport, let alone on behalf of OSU athletics. Rather, the facts indicate that she seemed to be acting for her own sexual satisfaction and that she was acting on her own. Accordingly, there is no basis to conclude that “additional benefits” were provided to student football athletes or that the rules regarding preferential treatment, benefits or services apply under NCAA rules.
The full statement released by the university:
In March 2021, the university learned that the State Medical Board of Ohio had investigated an independent massage therapist who engaged in inappropriate and abusive behavior targeting members of the Ohio State football team. The university confirmed that the medical board had taken action, and this person had his license revoked permanently.
Our first concern and top priority is the safety and well-being of our student-athletes. A few days after learning of the allegations, the university quickly launched an independent investigation into the matter. An experienced legal and compliance resource, Barnes & Thornburg, led the independent investigation and completed their work. Barnes & Thornburg found that no member of the university or athletic department staff was aware of the massage therapist’s activities. His actions were part of a plan to exploit student football athletes and violated his state license. Additionally, the state of Ohio does not believe the massage therapist’s actions trigger NCAA rules or form the basis for NCAA violations. While no self-declaration is required, the state of Ohio proactively shared the exploitative behavior with the NCAA, and a report was made to the Franklin County Attorney’s Office.
For the sake of transparency, we are currently making the report and all associated public documents available. All student-athletes on the football team, as well as coaches and staff, participated in this process. Based on the investigation’s findings, the university, through its public safety and athletics departments, banned the massage therapist from campus and places where students are housed or live and served him with an order. cease and desist from any further contact with students, coaches or staff.
According to the investigation report, 83 of the 117 football players interviewed had no knowledge or interaction with the massage therapist. Of the 34 who did, “9 student football athletes interacted with her on social media or knew her directly from other student football athletes, 20 student football athletes only received massages. and 5 student football athletes admitted in interviews that they had engaged in sexual activity. activities with the massage therapist… All the student football athletes who have engaged in sexual encounters have described them as consensual.
Smith praised the Ohio State soccer players for their cooperation with the investigation and praised Ryan Day and his team for creating a culture in which the players felt comfortable discussing the situation.
“I am grateful that our student-athletes, coaches and staff were honest, forthright and open during the investigation, and I am truly grateful that they maintained confidentiality, giving the investigation the opportunity to ‘operate without distraction and to be able to operate. with integrity, ”Smith said Thursday.