[CW: The following article describes allegations of on-campus sexual assaults by a medical professional.]
Sports Illustrated reports that Adam DiSabato, who was captain of the Ohio State University wrestling team during the early 1990s, has claimed his former coach and current US congressman Jim Jordan participated in a cover-up of sexual abuse at OSU.
Between 1979 to 1997 Dr. Richard Strauss, who died by suicide in 2005, is believed to have sexually abused over a thousand students at OSU. Many of Strauss’ victims belonged to university athletic teams for which he was the team doctor. Strauss has also been accused of abusing students who visited him at an off-campus medical clinic.
Adam DiSabato’s brother Mike is one of many wrestlers who have claimed they were abused by Strauss. Mike DiSabato, and some of his teammates, have claimed that Jordan knew about Strauss and failed to report these incidents to authorities.
Jordan has denied these allegations.
Last week Adam DiSabato appeared before the Ohio House Civil Justice Committee to speak about the scandal that lead to OSU paying a $41 million settlement to 162 abuse survivors. During that hearing DiSabato claimed that Jordan contacted him and tried to persuade him to go against his brother’s story.
“Jim Jordan called me crying, groveling, begging me to go against my brother, begging me, crying for a half-hour,” DiSabato said. “That’s the kind of cover-up that’s going on there.”
Before turning to politics Jordan was a two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Jordan became an assistant wrestling coach at OSU in 1987 and held that position until 1995.
Accusations that Jordan knew about Strauss’ crimes have been made since 2018. One former wrestler, Dunyasha Yetts, claimed he told Jordan directly that Strauss had molested him during a medical appointment. Former UFC heavyweight champion Mark Coleman also claimed he was a victim of Strauss.
In 2018 Coleman said, “There’s no way, unless he’s got dementia or something, that [Jordan has] got no recollection of what was going on at Ohio State.”
Shortly after making that statement Coleman walked back his claims, saying “Maybe I spoke without thinking.”
During the Trump-era of US Politics, Jordan became one of former President Donald Trump’s most loyal allies in the House of Representatives. Jordan was one of a handful of Republican politicians to cast votes to halt the certification of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College win both immediately before and after the deadly US Capitol Riot on January 6.
In 2018 Trump was asked about the accusations that Jordan failed to act when told about rampant sexual abuse against the wrestlers on his team. Trump told reporters he didn’t believe the accusations “at all”.
On his way out of office Trump awarded Jordan with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Survivors of sexual assault in the US 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 Rapes Crisis Hotlines.
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