Politics

Jordan Denies Allegations, Says Accuser Is ‘Bullying’ Him

‘Never heard of abuse, and if we had, we’d have reported it,’ Ohio congressman says

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, denied allegations he knew about sexual abuse by a team doctor while he was an assistant wrestling coach at the Ohio State University. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan denied allegations he knew of sexual abuse while he was an assistant wrestling coach and said the volume of email he’s getting from one accuser amounts to bullying.

Speaking at a tea party rally in Fremont, Ohio, on Wednesday Jordan said allegations made first by former wrestler Mike DiSabato to NBC News were false.

“In light of what was said yesterday, it’s just not accurate,” he said, according to USA Today. “Never heard of abuse, and if we had, we’d have reported it. The things he said about me were just flat out not true.”

DiSabato and other Ohio State University wrestlers have said that Jordan, who was an assistant wrestling coach there from 1986 to 1994, knew about sexual abuse by now-deceased team doctor Richard Strauss.

Kathleen Trafford, a spokeswoman for Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, the firm representing the university, said it contacted Jordan’s office to request an interview.

But Jordan said there was no record of contact.

“Our office went through everything, and no email, no phone, no record of them,” Jordan said. “We reached out to the law firm and asked them to give us a record of you’ve contacted us.”

A source in Jordan’s office told CNN that it will contact Capitol Police about one alleged victim’s emails to the congressman that were vaguely threatening because of the amount of them. The source said Jordan didn’t respond to them because he thought the man was “bullying him.”

DiSabato, whose allegations began the investigation into Strauss’ conduct, pushed back against Jordan saying he was being bullied.

Jim Jordan is a world-caliber athlete who is very aggressive in his actions ... he’s a bulldog, let’s be honest,” he said. “So for him to say he was being bullied by Mike DiSabato is somewhat laughable.”

Jordan said he and DiSabato were previously friends.

“Something’s changed,” he told reporters. “There is no truth to the fact that I knew of any abuse.”

Jordan’s spokesman also released two statements from former Ohio State head coach Russ Hellickson and former champion Lee Kemp defending Jordan, according to NBC News.

“At no time while Jim Jordan was a coach with me at Ohio State did either of us ignore abuse of our wrestlers. That is not the kind of man Jim is, and it is not the kind of coach that I was,” Hellickson said. 

Watch: Jim Jordan and Rod Rosenstein’s Fiery Exchange

 

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.