POLITICS

Rep. Jim Jordan Denies Most Recent Accusation That He Knew Of Sexual Abuse At OSU

The GOP lawmaker responded to a referee's allegation that Jordan waved off former Ohio State team doctor Richard Strauss' sexual misconduct in 1994.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) denied the most recent accusation that he ignored sexual abuse when he was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University nearly three decades ago. 

“I’ve stood up against the Speaker of the House from own party in my own state. I’ve stood up against the IRS, stood up against the FBI, stood up against Adam Schiff, fought the Justice Department when the whole Trump-Russia thing — what they had done. ... The idea I’m not going to defend our athletes when I think they’re being harmed is ridiculous,” he said in a Monday interview with local outlet Lima News

“This is just, this is someone making a false statement,” Jordan added.

Jordan has been denying accusations since last year that he turned a blind eye to rampant sexual abuse committed by former Ohio State team doctor Richard Strauss while Jordan was an assistant coach from 1986 to 1994. Most recently, a federal lawsuit filed last week claims that a referee says Strauss masturbated in front of him in a shower after a wrestling match in 1994.

When the referee reported the behavior to then-head wrestling coach Russ Hellickson and assistant coach Jordan, he says, they waved off the incident.

“Yeah, that’s Strauss,” the coaches responded, according to the suit. 

The referee told NBC News that Strauss’ behavior was “common knowledge” so no one did anything about it. 

“I wish Jim, and Russ, too, would stand up and do the right thing and admit they knew what Strauss was doing, because everybody knew what he was doing to the wrestlers,” the referee said. “What was a shock to me is that Strauss tried to do that to me. He was breaking new ground by going after a ref.”

The referee is the second person to say he directly reported Strauss’ inappropriate behavior to Jordan. Additionally, numerous former wrestlers and 22 former OSU coaches have reported to investigators that they were aware of complaints and rumors about Strauss.   

Jordan has continued to vehemently deny any accusations that he knew of Strauss’ sexual misconduct.  

Strauss committed at least 1,429 sexual assaults and 47 rapes on student patients during his time at the school, OSU reported in the school’s annual crime report published last month. 

Four former OSU wrestlers told NBC News last year that it was “common knowledge” that Strauss inappropriately touched students during appointments and often showered with them. The athletes added that it would have been nearly impossible for Jordan to not have known about the abuse.  

The former team doctor worked on various sports teams at the university from 1978 to 1998. He died by suicide in 2005, but the investigation into his alleged actions is ongoing.

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