Eight different former wrestlers at the Ohio State University (OSU) are now saying that U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) knew about the team doctor’s sexual abuse of student athletes but did nothing.
Earlier this month, NBC News initially reported on several former wrestlers at the school saying that Rep. Jim Jordan — one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress — knew about the abuse of athletes at the hands of team doctor Richard Strauss when he was an assistant coach at OSU between 1986 and 1994 (Strauss died in 2005). The scandal is similar to that of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, who knew about assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing players but failed to tell school authorities about what was happening.
Former wrestlers Mike DiSabato, Dunyasha Yetts, Mark Coleman (also a former UFC heavyweight champion) and other former members of the OSU wrestling team who have withheld their names out of fear of retaliation say that not only did Rep. Jordan know about the abuse, but took no action when they told him about Dr. Strauss’ repeated assaults.
“Jordan is denying this because obviously it would be political suicide for him. He’s still denying it. Jim Jordan knew. He didn’t do anything about it,” a wrestler anonymously told CNN.
“There’s no way unless he’s got dementia or something that he’s got no recollection of what was going on at Ohio State. I have nothing but respect for this man, I love this man, but he knew as far as I’m concerned,” Mark Coleman told the Wall Street Journal.
The former wrestlers’ allegations are in contrast to a statement recently released by six former OSU wrestling coaches who are standing by Jordan.
“What has been said about Jim Jordan is absolutely wrong. We all worked on the wrestling coaching staff during Jim’s tenure at The Ohio State University,” stated former head coach Russ Hellickson and former assistant coaches Dave Ruckman, Rex Holman, Ken Chertow, Myron Kharchilava, and Kenny Ramsey Jr.
“None of us saw or heard of abuse of OSU wrestlers. The well-being of student-athletes was all of our concern. If we had heard of any abuse, we would have spoken up.”
An ethics watchdog and a former Obama administration ethics official recently submitted a request to the Office of Congressional Ethics asking the body to investigate the claims against Jim Jordan. Rep. Jordan, for his part, has said he will comply with investigators.
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.