U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, has been accused by wrestlers he once coached at Ohio State University of failing to stop the wrestling team’s doctor from sexually molesting them and other students.
A report Tuesday from NBC News cites three former Ohio State wrestlers who say they were abused by Dr. Richard Strauss, who died in 2005.
Ohio State announced in April that it is investigating Strauss’ tenure as a team doctor, which lasted from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s.
Jordan was an assistant coach for the Ohio State wrestling team from 1986 to 1994. He stepped down after being elected to the Ohio House in 1994, representing the 85th District.
The Columbus Dispatch interviewed Jordan earlier in the spring. At the time, Jordan said he knew nothing about the alleged abuse.
“I had not heard about any type of abuse at all,” Jordan said in the interview, adding that “no one reported any type of abuse” to him.
Jordan’s spokesman repeated the denial Tuesday.
“Congressman Jordan never saw any abuse, never heard about any abuse, and never had any abuse reported to him during his time as a coach at Ohio State,” his spokesman, Ian Fury, said in an email to NBC News.
However, three wrestlers who spoke to NBC News said it was common knowledge that Strauss showered regularly with students and inappropriately touched them during medical appointments.
Mike DiSabato, whose allegations earlier this year sparked the investigation into Strauss’ tenure at Ohio State, called Jordan a “liar.”
“I considered Jim Jordan a friend,” DiSabato said. “But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on.”
DiSabato, who runs a Columbus-based sports and entertainment agency, said the recent conviction of former Olympics gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar prompted him and other Ohio State athletes to come forward about Strauss.
Jordan, who has served in the U.S. House since 2007, has said he only learned about the abuse allegations this spring, when former students began speaking out.
Jordan’s 4th Congressional District includes Allen and Seneca counties. It formerly included Hancock, Hardin and western Wyandot counties prior to redistricting in 2013.
Jordan has said he is considering a campaign to replace House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is retiring at the end of the year.
Late Tuesday, Ryan’s spokesman weighed in on the accusations.
“These are serious allegations and issues,” said Doug Andres, a spokesman for Ryan. “The university has rightfully initiated a full investigation into the matter. The speaker will await the findings of that inquiry.”