Jim Jordan Had To Know About Strauss' Abuse
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Politics and Activism

Jim Jordan Had To Know About Strauss' Abuse

Between the investigation's findings and the personal experience of many OSU wrestlers, Jim Jordan's statement of his vindication is all but annulled.

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May 15th's release of the investigation of Richard Strauss concluded two big things: Strauss had abused 177 students while employed at OSU from 1979-1999, and that talk of the abuse was rampant, with many believing it was an "open secret" (the full report is publicly available, and you can read about this issue from an OSU standpoint here). OSU's President Dr. Michael Drake has acknowledge the University's failure to take the allegations seriously at the time, saying "The findings are shocking and painful to comprehend... Our institution's fundamental failure at the time to prevent this abuse was unacceptable — as were the inadequate efforts to thoroughly investigate complaints raised by students and staff members." While it's important to commend OSU for accepting its role in all of this, one acknowledgement of their faults is glaringly missing after the report's findings. Someone who was an assistant coach of the wrestling team at the time of the abuses and is now one of the leading House Republicans in Congress: Ohio Representative Jim Jordan.

Jordan was assistant coach in the wrestling program from 1987-1995: his entire tenure falling within the time frame of Strauss' abuse. Jordan has, of course, claimed the findings of the report vindicate him from any wrongdoing, as he is not specifically named. While it is true that Jordan's name is nowhere to be find in the report, it's important to note that the section focusing on the coaching staff omits many of the staff's names. Furthermore, the report does make notion that it would be pretty hard for Jordan to not have known that the abuse was occurring.

"The Investigation Team received allegations from numerous student-athletes indicating that they talked about Strauss's inappropriate genital exams and complained about Strauss's locker-room voyeurism directly to — or in front of — O.S.U. coaching staff." The report continues, saying "many of the students felt that Strauss's behavior was an 'open secret,' as it appeared to them that their coaches, trainers, and other team physicians were fully aware of Strauss's activities, yet few seemed inclined to do anything about it." According to the report, Strauss' activities were well known, often discussed, and occurring with many students across a variety of teams. One of these teams, in fact, the team with the greatest number of victims (48 out of the 153 student-athletes), was the wrestling team. The report further points out that Strauss was a team physician for various teams, including the wrestling team, for 17 years, and that he would frequently "time his showers to coincide with the wrestling team." Considering the timing of Jordan's position as an assistant coach and Strauss blatant fondness for this particular team, it's really hard to believe that Jordan heard nothing, and a lot of former wrestlers agree.

Last July, Mike DiSabato came forward with allegations that university staff knew about Strauss abuse: including Jordan. DiSabato was a wrestler from 1987 to 1991 and said there were multiple incidences where he was abused by Strauss. He also stated that Strauss' behavior was frequently discussed in the locker room and well known in the athletic department. Jordan responded with a strong denial of DiSabato's allegations: "Things (DiSabato) said are just not true... There is no truth to the fact that I knew of any abuse. I've talked to other coaches; they didn't know of any abuse." DiSabato, however, is far from the only person that disagrees with Jordan's statement of innocence. Dunyasha Yetts, a wrestler from '93-'94, said "I remember I had a thumb injury and went into Strauss' office and he started pulling down my wrestling shorts. 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." Another former wrestler, who asked to remain anonymous, 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." Mike Coleman, who also wrestled at OSU and is now an MMA fighter, said "There's no way unless he's got dementia or something that he's got no recollection of what was going on at Ohio State. I have nothing but respect for the man, I love this man, but he knew as far as I'm concerned." It is important to note that Coleman, along with many others who also said Jordan had known about the abuse, have retracted their comments. It's more important to note, however, that many wrestlers report being pressured to support Jordan, and that Jordan has a PR firm working with him to combat allegations.

All-in-all, whether he knew about the abuse or not, Jordan has handled these allegations pretty poorly. After it was discovered that the Head Coach for the team, Russ Hellickson, admitted that he had spoken to Strauss about his behavior but never mentioned it to Jordan, Jordan said "Conversations in a locker room are a lot different than allegations of abuse to us." Is that an admission that he had heard something about it in the locker room, or are we going to play this continuous game of pretending to be blind to things happening right in front of our nose?

If you are someone who was abused by Strauss, athleteabuse.com is trying to work with victims to hold Ohio State accountable. If you would like to work to get Jordan out of Congress you can visit The Jordan Watch to find out how.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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