Richard Strauss, who worked as an Ohio State doctor from 1978 to 1998, sexually abused at least 177 men during his time at the university, according to a 182-page report released by the law firm Perkins Cole on Friday.
The report detailed how Strauss, who committed suicide in 2005, would shower with student-athletes, often multiple times a day; force them to strip naked during routine exams, sometimes for ailments as commonplace as a sore throat; and, in some cases, fondle them to the point of erection and ejaculation during examinations.
But Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) — who worked as an assistant coach for the Ohio State wrestling team from 1986 to 1994, and has been accused by at least eight former wrestlers of knowing about Strauss’ abuse and failing to report it — was pleased by the report’s findings.
“It confirms everything I’ve said before,” Jordan told reporters on Capitol Hill on Friday. “I didn’t know about anything. If I would’ve, I’d have done something.”
While the report did not mention Jordan by name, it also did not confirm that he knew nothing.
In fact, according to the report, many former students interviewed were adamant that Strauss’ abuse was an “open secret” on campus — that athletes, coaches, trainers, and administrative staff were all aware of Strauss’ propensity to shower with students, often multiple times a day, but took no steps to protect them.
“[W]e find that University personnel had knowledge of Strauss’ sexually abusive treatment of male student-patients as early as 1979, but that complaints and reports about Strauss’ conduct were not elevated beyond the Athletics Department or Student Health until 1996,” the report says.
“It was outside the scope of our fact-finding mandate to reach legal conclusions, including wither the University — or any University personnel — acted in accordance with applicable University policies or Ohio mandatory reporting laws in place at the time.”
Over the past year, Jordan has repeatedly denied that he knew anything about Strauss’s abuse — except the locker room chatter he overheard.
“Conversations in a locker room are a lot different than people coming up and talking about abuse. No one ever reported any abuse to me,” he said on Fox News last July.
In the same interview, Jordan attacked the motives of the men who were making the allegations, saying one of them had a “vendetta” against Ohio State. Jordan also claimed that he was being “bullied” by Strauss’ victims, who were disappointed that he wasn’t using his powerful platform to help them seek justice.
But his denials have not satisfied the men he used to coach.
“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,” said one of Strauss’s alleged victims, former UFC world champion Mark Coleman.
Despite the allegations that Jordan knew about Strauss’ abuse and did not act to protect student-athletes — which led to widespread calls for his resignation — the Ohio congressman easily won another term in 2018. He is currently serves in a leadership role on the House Oversight Committee.