Powerful Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) has been accused of an unforgivable crime by the wrestling students he coached at Ohio State University. When he could have acted, he did not. Just recently, he had a chance to help them, but he did not want to “get involved.”
Jordan was an assistant coach for the wrestling team at Ohio University. The school has been investigating Dr. Richard Strauss for sexually abusing the wrestling team from the mid-1970s to the late 1990’s, when Jordan was coaching. The doctor committed suicide in 2005.
Team members have accused the representative of failing to halt the team’s physician from molesting them and others. Jordan has repeatedly denied that he knew anything about the doctor abusing his student, but his students say that would have “been impossible.”
Jordan is a staunch Donald Trump supporter and one of the founders of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus. Until this, he had been a favorite to replace House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI).
Jordan inflicted unrelenting attacks during multiple Congressional probes. The most recent example of this was his hyper-conservative verbal prosecution of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein regarding the Russian attack on the U.S. 2016 election. Now, he will be at the mercy of a prosecutor.
The representative’s mentor, head coach Russ Hellickson, spoke on a video produced by one of his former wrestlers, Mike DiSabato. The coach said that he told Strauss he was too “hands on,” according to NBC News:
‘I said, “You make the guys nervous when you shower with them. His response was, “Coach, you shower with your guys all the time.” And I said, “Not for an hour, Doc.
‘I considered Jim Jordan a friend. But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on.’
DiSabato wrote an email to a law firm representing Ohio State (OSU):
‘Strauss sexually assaulted male athletes in at least fifteen varsity sports during his employment at OSU from 1978 through 1998. Athlete victims include members of the following programs: football, basketball, wrestling, swimming, cheerleading, volleyball, lacrosse, gymnastics, ice hockey, soccer, baseball, tennis, track and cross country.’
‘Based on testimony from victim athletes from each of the aforementioned varsity sports, we estimate that Strauss sexually assaulted and/or raped a minimum of 1,500/2,000 athletes at OSU from 1978 through 1998.’
“Everybody knew before you were going into the (examination) room that Doc Strauss was going to touch you. It was like a joke before you went in there.’
DiSabato first contacted Jordan before going to the university to give him a heads-up. The representative responded “please leave me out of it.”
The video producer said that Jordan told him:
‘He asked me not to get him involved.’
An unidentified teammate of Disabato never reported Strauss to Jordon for abusing him, but the rumors of it were “all over the locker room:”
‘I love Jimmy to death. 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.’
This spring the first stories about the investigation into the team physician appeared, Jordan spoke to The Columbus Dispatch:
‘I had not heard about any type of abuse at all…no one reported any type of abuse (to him).’
Jordan’s spokesperson, Ian Fury, responded to NBC News in an email that read:
‘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.’
After the NBC News story hit the public, Fury added this statement:
‘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
DiSabato wrote to Jordan for support, but the Congressman did not respond. The email said:
‘I ask you to give your full attention to the information attached to this email. We (are) watching you. … You have the platform to cut through the double talk, placation and finger pointing.’
The wrestlers said:
‘Jim was Coach Russ’ right-hand man.’
DiSabato said showering after practice was like running “the gauntlet of sexual deviancy.” After practice, some of the university administrators, professors, and others would come to shower.
Many of the students did not say anything, because they were fearful of losing their scholarships. One wrestler on the video said that during an examination, Strauss “grabbed his penis.”
‘I didn’t do a thing. Probably, because I was scared…(he broke down in the video). Why am I doing this now? It’s just hard. I don’t want this to ever have to happen to anybody else, ever … at The Ohio State University or any school.’
Whether any of the former Ohio State coaches or administrators might face penalties for protecting the wrestlers from Strauss is still unknown.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Saul Loeb.