GOP Rep. Jim Jordan reportedly feels he’s being bullied by an alleged victim of sexual abuse at Ohio State University, according to a CNN report, as he continues to deny any knowledge of the alleged abuse.
Jordan, a powerful Republican congressman from Ohio who is a member of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, was the assistant wrestling coach at the university from 1986 to 1994. Former wrestlers he coached are now accusing him of ignoring and failing to stop the team doctor, Dr. Richard Strauss, from molesting them and other students, NBC News first reported on Tuesday.
Strauss died in 2005, but in April the university announced it was opening an investigation into accusations he abused members of the wrestling team.
Three former wrestlers are claiming there’s no way Jordan would have been unaware that Strauss was abusing members of the team. Strauss allegedly routinely showered with the students and touched them inappropriately during appointments.
Jordan has vehemently denied any knowledge of the alleged abuse.
“We knew of no abuse, never heard of abuse. If we had, we would have reported it,” Jordan told reporters on Wednesday.
Mike DiSabato, one of the former wrestlers who’s come forward with the accusations, has called Jordan a “liar” over his denials.
‘He is absolutely lying…’
DiSabato told 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.”
The former wrestler claims that Jordan told him to “please leave me out of it” when he told the congressman he planned to go public with the accusations earlier this year.
According to a source within Jordan’s office, the congressman planned to contact police over repeated emails from DiSabato, which he reportedly said constitute “bullying.”
In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, DiSabato laughed at the notion he was bullying Jordan in any capacity.
“Jim Jordan is a world-caliber athlete who is very aggressive in his actions … he’s a bulldog, let’s be honest,” DiSabato said. “So for him to say he was being bullied by Mike DiSabato is somewhat laughable.”
Another accuser and former wrestler at Ohio State University, Dunyasha Yetts, told NBC News that he and other teammates told Jordan about Strauss multiple times.
“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,” Yetts said.
As Jordan faces these accusations, some have pointed to the past legal troubles of the alleged victims and questioned their reliability.
Yetts, for example, spent time in prison for bilking investors out of nearly $2 million. But he’s not hiding that fact as he moves foward with these allegations against Strauss and Jordan.
“I am not a perfect person, but ask any of the wrestlers and they will tell you everybody knew about Doc,” Yetts said.
Some have also questioned DiSabato’s motives, given he reportedly filed a lawsuit against Ohio State University over a separate issue in the past.
But DiSabato said he and other former athletes at the university were motivated to come forward by the recent conviction of former Olympics gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
‘I believe him’
President Donald Trump on Thursday offered his support to Jordan and said he believes the congressman didn’t know about the alleged abuse.
“I don’t believe them at all. I believe him. Jim Jordan is one of the most outstanding people I’ve met since I’ve been in Washington. I believe him 100 percent,” Trump said while speaking to reporters on Air Force One.
This came as a fourth former Ohio State University wrestler, Shawn Dailey, came forward and said he’d been abused. Dailey also said Jordan knew what happened.
“I participated with [Jordan] and the other wrestlers in locker-room talk about Strauss. We all did,” Dailey told NBC News. “It was very common knowledge in the locker room that if you went to Dr. Strauss for anything, you would have to pull your pants down.”
Dailey said it was “hurtful” Jordan is denying any knowledge of the alleged abuse. “I was surprised to hear Jim say that he knew nothing about it,” he added.
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