Two more former wrestlers have come forward claiming Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) turned a blind eye to abuse by a team doctor at Ohio State, while Jordan was working there in the 1990s.
Former student athlete Shawn Daily told NBC Thursday he was groped a number of times by Dr. Richard Strauss while he was at Ohio State during the mid-90s. Daily said he was too embarrassed to report the abuse directly to Jordan, who worked as an assistant coach, but said Jordan was a part of conversations about Strauss’ systemic abuse of student athletes.
Daily told NBC he is a Republican and donated to Jordan’s first campaign for state representative in 1994, but that he was driven out of wrestling by Strauss’ abuse.
“Jimmy’s a good guy,” Dailey told the network. “But to say that he had no knowledge of it, I would say that’s kind of hurtful.”
Former UFC world champion Mark Coleman, who roomed with Jordan on several wrestling trips, also came forward Thursday, telling The Wall Street Journal that he thought there was “no way” Jordan didn’t know about the abuse.
“There’s no way unless he’s got dementia or something that he’s got no recollection of what was going on at Ohio State,” Coleman told the Journal. “I have nothing but respect for this man, I love this man, but he knew as far as I’m concerned.”
Jordan denies knowing anything about the abuse, telling reporters in Ohio earlier this week, “We knew of no abuse, never heard of abuse. If we had, we would have reported it. If, in fact, there’s problems, we want justice for the people who were victims, obviously, and as I said, we are happy to talk with the folks who are doing the investigation. But the things they said about me just were flat-out not true.”
Investigators have countered Jordan’s claims, however, telling the Columbus Dispatch they’ve contacted Jordan and got no response.
NBC first reported the allegations that Jordan had turned a blind eye to Strauss’ abuse earlier this week. In April, Ohio State University announced they were looking into allegations that Strauss, who died in 2005, abused team members while he served as the team doctor from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s.
On Thursday, President Trump threw his support behind the Republican congressman, saying he believes Jordan “100 percent.”
“I don’t believe them at all,” Trump told reporters, referring to the wrestlers who have come forward. “Jim Jordan is one of the most outstanding people I’ve met since I’ve been in Washington and I believe him 100 percent.”
Jordan’s spokesperson also released a statement this week from three-time world wrestling champ Lee Kemp, who went to the University of Wisconsin, not Ohio State, defending the lawmaker. “Jim also never took shortcuts or ducked challenges,” Kemp said. “That’s not how he became a champion, so the idea that Jim would know of abuse of his wrestlers and do nothing is utterly absurd.”
On Wednesday, Jordan claimed he was being “bullied” by Michael DiSabato, another wrestler who came forward. According to a CNN report, Jordan contacted Capitol Police after receiving emails from DiSabato for “months.” Jordan didn’t respond because he didn’t want to “encourage the behavior.”
In June, DiSabato wrote in an email to an attorney appointed as legal counsel to Ohio State, “Strauss sexually assaulted male athletes in at least fifteen varsity sports during his employment at OSU from 1978 through 1998.”
He added, “Based on testimony from victim athletes from each of the aforementioned varsity sports, we estimate that Strauss sexually assaulted and/or raped a minimum of 1,500/2,000 athletes at OSU from 1978 through 1998.”