From 1986 to 1994, anti-gay Republican Ohio Representative Jim Jordan (above) served as an assistant wrestling coach for the men’s team at Ohio State University. And now his former athletes are claiming Jordan willfully ignored complaints that the team’s now-deceased male doctor, Dr. Richard Strauss, was molesting them.
The university began an investigation into the claims this last April, and Jordan says he knew nothing of the abuse before the investigation. But, former wrestler Mike DiSabato called Jordan “a liar,” and at least one other former wrestler, Dunyasha Yetts, claims to have told Jordan about the sexual abuse as it was occurring.
“I remember I had a thumb injury and went into Strauss’ office and he started pulling down my wrestling shorts,” Yetts said. “I’m like, ‘What the fuck are you doing?’ And I went out and told [head coach Russ Hellickson] and Jim what happened. I was not having it. They went in and talked to Strauss.”
Strauss allegedly touched the student athletes inappropriately during physical examinations and would regularly shower with them. Other athletes said that Jordan had to know about it as all of the student athletes regularly discussed it.
“I considered Jim Jordan a friend,” DiSabato said. “But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on.”
Hellickson claims that he told university administrators about Dr. Strauss’ inappropriate behavior and told the doctor to avoid unnecessary contact with students.
“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,” Jordan’s spokesman Ian Fury told NBC News.
The University’s legal representatives say that they have contacted Jordan several times for an interview, but Jordan hasn’t responded to their requests. Thus far, the university’s legal counsel has reportedly interviewed 150 former students and witnesses and plans to interview more for their investigation.
DiSabato claims that Dr. Strauss “sexually assaulted and/or raped a minimum of 1,500/2,000 athletes at OSU from 1978 through 1998” including male students from 13 other sports. Strauss committed suicide in 2005 after a longtime struggle with chronic pain.
Jordan is an ardent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump. In 2014, Jordan tried to block the legalization of same-sex marriage in Washington D.C.. He has also voted against bills forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation and supported a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.