Jim Jordan calls allegations he ignored sexual abuse allegation 'ridiculous'
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, dismissed a new claim that an allegation of sexual abuse against Dr. Richard Strauss had been reported to him when the two men were employed at Ohio State University as “ridiculous.”
Jordan, who as a temporary member of the House Intelligence Committee is questioning witnesses during the public impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump, adamantly denied to Ohio media outlet Lima News that he had any knowledge of the allegations against Strauss at the time.
“I’ve stood up against the Speaker of the House from own party in my own state,” Jordan said. “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 added, “This is just — this is someone making a false statement.”
The unnamed referee filed a lawsuit Thursday in Columbus, Ohio, which alleged that when he had informed Jordan — then an assistant wrestling coach at the university — and wrestling head coach Russ Hellickson that Strauss had masturbated in front of him, the two men replied by saying: “Yeah, that’s Strauss.”
Since Jordan left Ohio State University, many of the former wrestlers at the school have come forward to accuse Strauss of sexual abuse. An Ohio State University report last year found that he committed at least 1,429 sexual assaults and 47 rapes on student patients during his career at the school. Strauss committed suicide in 2005.
The referee is the second person to claim that he directly reported Strauss’s behavior to Jordan, with the first being a former wrestler at the school. NBC News previously reported how former wrestlers who competed for Ohio State University when Jordan was an assistant wrestling coach there from 1986 to 1994 claimed that he had to have been aware that Strauss, who worked at the school, would regularly shower with students and grope them during medical appointments. Strauss is accused of having engaged in this conduct from the 1970s through the 1990s.
Jordan has been a staunch defender of Trump amidst the many scandals facing the president and has had that support reciprocated when it comes to the accusations he has endured since last year. At one rally, Trump said that he did not believe the wrestlers claiming that Jordan knew about Strauss "at all."
"I believe him. Jim Jordan is one of the most outstanding people I’ve met, since I’ve been in Washington," the president added. "I believe him 100 percent. No question in my mind. I believe Jim Jordan 100 percent. He’s an outstanding man.”
Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.