CW: The following article contains details of sexual assault on a college campus.
In July, 2018 former Ohio State University (OSU) wrestler Mike DiSabato went public with accusations that Ohio congressman Jim Jordan knew that Dr. Richard Strauss was sexually abusing student athletes at OSU during the time that Jordan coached the wrestling team.
DiSabato claimed he was groped by Dr. Strauss during routine medical visits. Strauss was team doctor for OSU’s wrestling team, as well as a number of other athletic teams, between 1978 and 1998. He died in 2005.
Last year OSU stated that it had received allegations of sexual misconduct by Strauss from people involved with 14 of the school’s athletic teams as well as patients from the school’s student health services unit.
This week DiSabato was arrested in Columbus, Ohio on a warrant related to his failure to appear in court to answer harassment charges (per The Washington Times). The harassment charge was due to a claim from former OSU football player Matthew S. Finkes. Finkes alleged that DiSabato was making harassing phone calls to him.
Finkes is a second cousin of Jordan. Finkes was recruited by Jordan to join OSU’s wrestling team. However, Finkes chose to play football instead.
DiSabato claimed that he didn’t appear in court because neither he nor his lawyer knew about the hearing. “I’m a wanted man because of bureaucratic bungling,” he told NBC News.
DiSabato is not the only former OSU wrestler who accused Jordan of having knowledge of Dr. Strauss’ groping of athletes. Dunyasha Yetts, who was coached by Jordan at OSU, alleges Strauss groped him at least three times in the mid 1990s, according to the Chicago Tribune. Yetts stated that he and Jordan discussed the incidents with Jordan saying comments such as, “this guy better not touch me.”
Shawn Dailey, another ex-OSU wrestler, backed up DiSabato and Yetts’ statements in an interview with NBC News.
UFC Hall of Famer, and OSU alum, Mark Coleman also alleges that he was touched inappropriately by Dr. Strauss. He told The Wall Street Journal that his former coach Jordan knew about the abuse. “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,” said Coleman.
Coleman later walked back this statement. “I was angry and said words that I shouldn’t have said,” he claimed when contacted by CNN.
Despite the controversy surrounding Jordan in the summer of 2017, he handily retained his seat in the US House of Representatives during the midterm elections. The Republican clinched the Ohio 7th District with over 65% of the vote versus his Democratic challenger Janet Garrett.
Prior to the Republicans losing the House of Representatives, Jordan was considered a likely candidate to replace the outgoing Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House.
Jordan, a former NCAA Division 1 champion, remains one of President Trump’s most loyal allies in Congress. When Trump was confronted about the news of Jordan possibly knowing about the accusations against Strauss, he said (per CNN): “I don’t believe them at all. I believe him. Jim Jordan is one of the most outstanding people I’ve met since I’ve been in Washington.”
Survivors of sexual assault can find support via the following organizations:
US – Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)’s National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). RAINN also has an online chat service.
Love is Respect, 1-866-331-9474. They can also be reached via online chat or by texting LOVEIS to 22522.
End Rape on Campus (EROC), 1-424-777-EROC (3762).
Canada – Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime, 1-877-232-2610.
UK and Ireland – UK Says No More.
Rest of the World – International Rape Crisis Hotlines.
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