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Ex-wrestler says Rep. Jim Jordan witnessed lewd shower acts while a coach at Ohio State

Jim Jordan continued to deny knowledge of alleged sexual abuse by a former OSU team doctor while attending a July 4 Tea Party rally. (AP)

Multiple former Ohio State wrestlers have accused U.S. Representative Jim Jordan of turning a blind eye to alleged sexual abuse committed by team doctor Richard Strauss while he was was a coach for the Buckeyes.

Jordan, a prominent Republican from Ohio, was an assistant coach at OSU from 1986-94. NBC reported on Tuesday that three former OSU wrestlers described the alleged abuse by Strauss as common knowledge and that he assaulted as many as 2,000 student athletes from 1978-98.

“I considered Jim Jordan a friend,” Mike DiSabato, one of Strauss’s accusers, told NBC. “But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on.”

Jordan confronts accusations at July 4 Tea Party rally

Jordan attended a July 4 Tea Party rally Wednesday in Fremont, Ohio where he confronted the accusations and continued to deny that he was aware of the alleged abuse in Columbus.


“I did know Dr. Strauss,” Jordan said. “He was there when we got to Ohio State, and continued to work at Ohio State once I left.

“But there’s no truth to the fact that I knew of any abuse. I’ve talked to other coaches, and they didn’t know of any abuse. It’s just not accurate to say those things, that we knew of it and didn’t report it.”

Strauss accuser says Jordan witnessed abuse in team showers

Jordan’s denial conflicts with descriptions that the alleged abuse was rampant and well known in OSU wrestling circles.

DiSabato told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on Wednesday that not only was Jordan aware of the alleged abuse, but that he witnessed inappropriate behavior from Strauss in the team shower.

DiSabato described an environment where student-athletes shared a shower with multiple staff and faculty members who “were involved in lewd acts that included public masturbation” and “excessive soaping of their groin area.”


“Dr Strauss was one of those that took a lot of showers and soaped himself a lot,” DiSabato said. “So, when you look at the definition of sexual abuse and sexual assault —  and Jim Jordan just went on record saying he knew about the facilities — he took showers with us. He saw Dr. Strauss and others perform these kinds of acts in front of us.”

Another ex-wrestler who requested anonymity described the culture around the Buckeyes locker room to NBC.

“I love Jimmy to death,” the ex-wrestler said. “It was a head-scratcher to me why he would say he didn’t know anything. Doc used to take showers with the team even though he didn’t do any workouts, and everybody used to snicker about how you go into his office for a sore shoulder and he tells you to take your pants down.”

Ohio State investigating allegations

Ohio State has expanded an investigation into allegations against Strauss after claiming that athletes from 14 different sports accused him of of sexual misconduct. Strauss died in 2005 at age 67.

Jordan, an Ohio native, won two NCAA wrestling championships at Wisconsin. He returned to Ohio to get his masters degree at OSU and work as an assistant wrestling coach before pursuing a political career.

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Jason Owens is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter.