Rep. Jim Jordan, a powerful Republican congressman from Ohio, has been accused of turning a blind-eye to sex abuse during his tenure as an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University.
In April, the university began an investigation into allegations that Dr. Richard Strauss, who served as the team doctor, sexually abused team members from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s.
Strauss died in 2005.
Jordan, who served as assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State from 1986 to 1994, has publicly denied any knowledge of the abuse.
But his denials have been called out as lying by former members of the wrestling team.
Three former Ohio State wrestlers have come forward saying it was “common knowledge” that the doctor regularly showered with the athletes and touched them inappropriately during appointments. They say its impossible Jordan would not have known about the abuse.
From NBC News:
Former head coach Russ Hellickson, Jordan's mentor, said in a recent video — made by Mike DiSabato, a former wrestler — that Hellickson had told Strauss that he was being too "hands on” with students.
DiSabato, whose allegations against Strauss prompted Ohio State to open its investigation, called Jordan a “liar.”
“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.”
DiSabato said he reached out to Jordan this year, before going to the university, to tell Jordan that he planned to go public with his allegations. Jordan told him to “please leave me out of it,” DiSabato said. “He asked me not to get him involved.”
Another former wrestler, Dunyasha Yetts, says he informed Jordan himself about an inappropriate incident with the doctor in the mid-1990s.
“I remember I had a thumb injury and went into Strauss’ office and he started pulling down my wrestling shorts,” he said. “I’m like, what the f--- are you doing? And I went out and told Russ and Jim what happened. I was not having it. They went in and talked to Strauss.”
According to Yetts, he and his teammates went to Jordan several times about Strauss.
"So it’s sad for me to hear that he’s denying knowing about Strauss," he said. "I don’t know why he would, unless it’s a cover-up. Either you’re in on it, or you’re a liar.”
Jordan repeated his denials to Politico on Tuesday:
DiSabato, however, has forwarded to NBC News an email he sent Jordan on April 24 asking Jordan to “give your full attention to the information attached to this email.”
“We [are] watching you, “ wrote DiSabato. “You have the platform to cut through the double talk, placation and finger pointing.”
Jordan never responded. According to CNN, he felt the emails amounted to "bullying" by DiSabato.
Based on testimony from athletes in 15 varsity sports over the years, DiSabato estimates Strauss sexually assaulted and/or raped around 1,500/2,000 athletes at OSU from 1978 through 1998.
Jordan is a staunch ally of Donald Trump and is rumored to be a contender for Speaker of the House after Paul Ryan retires early next year should Republicans retain control of the House.
Watch CNN's report below: