COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Rep. Jim Jordan, the powerful Republican congressman from Ohio, is being accused by former wrestlers he coached more than two decades ago at Ohio State University of failing to stop the team doctor from molesting them and other students, NBC News reports.
The new development comes just months after the university announced it was investigating accusations that Dr. Richard Strauss, who died in 2005, abused team members when he was the team doctor from the mid-1970s to late 1990s.
The university says athletes from six more sports teams have reported instances of sexual misconduct against Strauss, bringing the total to 14 men’s varsity teams. Patients of Student Health Services within the Office of Student Life have also reported misconduct.
According to the university, the sports include baseball, cheerleading, cross country, fencing, football, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track, volleyball and wrestling.
Jordan was the assistant wrestling coach at the university from 1986 to 1994. He has repeatedly said he knew nothing of the abuse.
However, three former wrestlers told NBC News that “it was common knowledge that Strauss showered regularly with the students and inappropriately touched them during appointments.” They claim it would have been impossible for Jordan to not know what was going on. One wrestler claims he even directly told Jordan about the abuse.
Former wrestler Michael DiSabato says he first brought this issue to the attention of the university in his master’s thesis in 1994. In that paper, DiSabato said he shined a light on sexual assault along with other issues in the athletics population.
Now, DiSabato is calling Jordan a “liar.”
“I considered Jim Jordan a friend,” DiSabato told NBC News. “But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on.”
One of DiSabato’s former teammates, who asked not to be identified, also claims Jordan had to have knowna bout the rumors “because it was all over the locker room.”
“I love Jimmy to death,” the ex-wrestler said. “It was a head-scratcher to me why he would say he didn’t know anything. Doc used to take showers with the team even though he didn’t do any workouts, and everybody used to snicker about how you go into his office for a sore shoulder and he tells you to take your pants down.”
Jordan is the founder of the House Freedom Caucus and is considered a staunch ally of President Trump. His office issued the following statement in response to the claims:
“Congressman 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.”