Yesterday, Ohio Representative and co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, Jim Jordan, was hit with allegations that he knew about and ignored allegations of sexual assaults perpetrated on members the Ohio State University wrestling team. From 1986 until 1994, while he was going to graduate and law school, Jordan was an assistant coach of the Ohio State wrestling team. In April, Ohio State announced it was investigating a now-deceased team doctor, Richard Strauss, for sexual misconduct with athletes:
Ohio State University is investigating allegations of sexual misconduct involving a former wrestling team doctor, now deceased, who was with the university for two decades, the school announced Thursday.
As part of its investigation into Dr. Richard Strauss, Ohio State is reaching out to former student-athletes, coaches and others who may have been victims or may have had knowledge of sexual assault.
The university said allegations of sexual misconduct have recently been brought forward regarding Strauss, who died at age 67 in 2005. He served as wrestling-team physician between the mid-1970s and the late 1990s, though his exact dates of employment aren’t known, according to the university’s announcement.
Apparently, Dr. Strauss could have inspired an episode from Friends:
Dunyasha Yetts, who wrestled at Ohio State in 1993 and 1994, said he and others told Jordan about Strauss.
“I remember I had a thumb injury and went into Strauss’ office and he started pulling down my wrestling shorts,” he said. “I’m like, what the f— are you doing? And I went out and told Russ and Jim what happened. I was not having it. They went in and talked to Strauss.”
Thus far, two former wrestlers have come forward to say that either they were sure that Jordan knew about the hands-on doctor or that he was told about it.
The fellow who started the investigation, Mike DiSabato, says he was inspired to come forward by the gymnasts who had been sexually molested by the US Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.
On the merits, I am hyper-skeptical of allegations that take 20+ years to surface simply because you can’t defend yourself. And, based on what I’ve seen so far, I see no reason to doubt Jordan or, absent the results of an investigation, to even take the allegations as legitimate. Jim Jordan is denying that he either knew or was told about the alleged incidents and Ohio State has yet to complete its investigation. And for all the talk, what is missing is an uproar like that associated with Nassar. Strauss was doctor for the Ohio State athletic program, all of it, not just wrestling, if the allegations are true we can be sure he did more than attempt to ogle a few wrestlers. So far, crickets.
And even though questioning the motives of the accusers makes me a very, very bad person, there is this:
DiSabato, a small business owner who sold athletic merchandise, did business with Ohio State for years after graduating until the university cut off his contract. He sued around that time and was also part of a class action lawsuit against the university, according to Ohio State’s student newspaper, The Lantern.
Yetts served 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to fraud charges in an investment scheme, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
There is an unfortunate tendency on our side of the aisle to throw our people to the wolves if there is even an ephemeral chance that the New York Times editorial page will give us a pat on the head. I hope that doesn’t happen with Jim Jordan but because he has gained a high profile both in the Freedom Caucus and in investigating FBI and Justice Department abuses during the 2016 election, there is no doubt that he’s wearing a huge bullseye on his back.
Oddly enough, the law firm representing the two complainants in this melodrama is Perkins Coie. That is the same law firm that hired Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele to produce the Trump dossier.
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