Six former wrestlers who were on the Ohio State University (OSU) wrestling team three decades ago say that Jim Jordan, who now serves as an Ohio congressman, was well aware of sexual abuse committed by team doctor Richard Strauss and did nothing to stop the abuse, according to a report from CNN:
“(The six wrestlers) told CNN in recent interviews that they were present when Jordan heard or responded to sexual misconduct complaints about team doctor Richard Strauss. Eight others say Strauss’ inappropriate behavior was an open secret in the athletic department and that Jordan, among others, must have known about it.”
One of the wrestlers, Tito Vasquez, said he vividly recalls the day he went to Dr. Strauss for a bloody nose and the doctor insisted on examining his genitals. He reported the incident to an assistant coach on the team:
“‘I have nothing to do with this,’ Vazquez quoted the assistant coach saying, as he effectively ended the conversation and went on with wrestling practice.
“That coach, Vazquez says, was Jim Jordan, now an Ohio congressman and an influential voice in Republican politics, perhaps best known for his pugnacious defense of President Donald Trump during the recent impeachment proceedings.”
Another wrestler, Dan Ritchie, also asserts that Jordan knew about the sexual abuse by Dr. Strauss, who committed suicide in 2005 when the accusations came to light:
“He remembers a teammate complained about Strauss and that Jordan said, ‘If he ever tried that with me I’d snap his neck like a stick of dry balsa wood.'”
Jordan has steadfastly denied that he had any knowledge of the abuse that took place while he was a coach on the OSU wrestling team, telling CNN:
“The idea that I wouldn’t stand up for these athletes is ridiculous. I feel sorry for these guys, the fact that they aren’t telling the truth. I mean these are guys I trained with, these are guys I worked out with, I ran with, wrestled with, and the idea that now they are saying what they are, it’s just not true.”
But that statement doesn’t hold water for Vasquez, who notes:
“When these complaints come and he pretends now that he had no knowledge of it, that’s betrayal in the highest level.”
Ohio State is accused of trying to conceal the abuse allegedly perpetrated by Strauss and says it is trying to reach an agreement with those who claim they were molested. Ben Johnson, a spokesperson for the university, said OSU is actively involved in a process of mediation:
“Ohio State has led the effort to investigate and expose Richard Strauss’ abuse and the university’s failure at the time to adequately respond to or prevent it. We express our deep regret and apologies to all who experienced Strauss’ abuse and remain actively committed to a fair resolution, including a monetary resolution.”
But the question remains: If Jordan didn’t know and is innocent of being involved in a cover-up, why doesn’t he agree to testify under oath or give a sworn statement on the matter?
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