Before becoming a Congressman in 2007, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) was a wrestling coach at the Ohio State University, where former wrestlers say he knew about the sexual abuse of their teammates but did nothing.
On Tuesday, the Dayton Daily News quoted former wrestlers that Rep. Jordan used to coach at OSU, alongside now-deceased former team doctor Richard Strauss, who said that the Congressman is a “coward” for lying about his supposed knowledge of the abuse that athletes were reportedly subjected to.
“He knew, did know, and it’s very disappointing that he has now denied knowledge, not once, but twice,” former OSU wrestler Mike DiSabato, one of Strauss’ victims. “I’ve never known Jim Jordan to be a coward, frankly, but this shows that his own interest in seeking higher office is more important than the health, safety and wellbeing of his friends and athletes who competed for him and with him.”
In addition to wrestlers, the investigation into the sexual abuse allegations against Strauss has now expanded into 14 different team sports at OSU and around Columbus, Ohio, between the 1970s and 1990s. Other potential victims include non-athletes at OSU, patients at Dr. Strauss’ private practice, and even high school students. Three former wrestlers told NBC News that it was common knowledge that Dr. Strauss would shower with student-athletes and touch them inappropriately during appointments.
“At the end of the day, [Jordan] is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on,” one former OSU wrestler told NBC News regarding the six-term Congressman.
Despite the time of Dr. Strauss’ alleged abuse overlapping with Rep. Jordan’s time as an assistant wrestling coach at OSU, a spokesman for the Congressman said that Jordan never had any knowledge of Strauss’ alleged predatory behavior.
“[Rep. Jordan] never saw any abuse, never heard about any abuse, and never had any abuse reported to him during his time as a coach at Ohio State. He has not been contacted by investigators about the matter but will assist them in any way they ask, because if what is alleged is true, the victims deserve a full investigation and justice,” said spokesperson Ian Fury on behalf of Rep. Jordan.
Jordan is up for re-election in 2018, though his race is not considered competitive. The Cook Political Report rated Ohio’s 4th Congressional District R+14, meaning Republicans performed 14 points better in that district compared to the nation as a whole. Rep. Jordan is a high-ranking Republican, one of the senior members of the stridently conservative House Freedom Caucus, and rumored to be considered a candidate for Speaker of the House following Paul Ryan’s retirement if the GOP maintains control of the U.S. House of Representatives this year.
Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.