Over the past few months, Ohio State University has been dealing with a controversy involving the late Doctor Richard Strauss, who was a physician for student athletes during the middle of the 1970s to the late 1990s and has been accused of sexually assaulting students while he had tenure.
The story recently took a political turn because some of the victims of Strauss have said that Jim Jordan, Republican Representative from Ohio who was a coach when the controversy took place at the university, was aware of the sexual abuse, even though he denies it. A report from NBC News revealed:
Jordan, who was assistant wrestling coach at the university from 1986 to 1994, has repeatedly said he knew nothing of the abuse until former students began speaking out this spring, and continued to deny it on Tuesday. His denials, however, have been met with skepticism and anger from some former members of the wrestling team.
Three former wrestlers told NBC News that it was common knowledge that Strauss showered regularly with the students and inappropriately touched them during appointments, and said it would have been impossible for Jordan to be unaware; one wrestler said he told Jordan directly about the abuse.
Ex-wrestler Mike DiSabato said to NBC News, “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.”
Dunyasha Yetts, another wrestler from OSU, recalls telling Jordan many times about Strauss. “For God’s sake, Strauss’s locker was right next to Jordan’s and Jordan even said he’d kill him if he tried anything with him,” he said.
“[I]t’s sad for me to hear that he’s denying knowing about Strauss. I don’t know why he would, unless it’s a cover-up. Either you’re in on it, or you’re a liar,” he continued.
Another former student athlete from OSU who requested to remain anonymous, said concerns involving Strauss were heard “all over the locker room.” Referring to Jordan, he said, “It was a head-scratcher to me why he would say he didn’t know anything.”
On more than one occasion, Jordan and his office have claimed he didn’t know about any abuse while he was at OSU. The university is investigating the story, and the Republican from Ohio has claimed he wants to help.
It’s too early to know for sure how this may affect Jordan’s career. The conservative legislator, one of the House Freedom Caucus’s founders, is running in a highly right-winged district for re-election, where he won by 35 points in 2016.
Allegedly, he’s also interested in replacing Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House.