Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a prominent Republican figure, is facing allegations regarding his knowledge of a major sexual abuse scandal at Ohio State University. Jordan, who worked as an assistant wrestling coach at the university from 1987 to 1995, has been accused by several men from his past of being aware of the abuse, allegations which he denies. The scandal involves former university athletic doctor Richard Strauss, who sexually abused at least 177 male students between 1979 and 1996.
Despite Jordan’s denial, multiple wrestlers he coached have publicly claimed that he knew about the abuse. Former wrestler Dan Ritchie stated that Jordan was present in the locker room when players discussed Strauss’ abuse between 1989 and 1990. Another wrestler, Mike Flusche, confirmed hearing Jordan’s comment about snapping Strauss’ neck. Michael Schyck, also a wrestler during Jordan’s tenure, expressed disbelief that Jordan had no knowledge of the abuse, stating that “everybody knew what Strauss was all about.”
Jordan has consistently maintained his innocence, citing a 2019 report commissioned by the university that did not find evidence of coaching staff being aware of complaints against Strauss. However, the report did acknowledge that student-athletes openly discussed the abuse, and 22 unnamed coaches confirmed knowledge of it. The statute of limitations for Strauss’ abuse has expired, and the university settled with 296 survivors for over $60 million in 2022. The university’s attempt to dismiss lawsuits from more than 230 men was also unsuccessful.
In addition to the sexual abuse scandal, Jordan has faced criticism for declining to support bipartisan bills aimed at helping survivors of abuse. Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson, a prominent advocate for legislation against workplace harassment, expressed disappointment when Jordan did not back a bill banning the use of nondisclosure agreements in sexual harassment and abuse cases.
While Jordan campaigns for the position of speaker of the House, survivors of the Ohio State scandal have expressed dissatisfaction with his repeated denial of knowledge. The allegations against Jordan could gain further attention with the release of a forthcoming documentary on sexual abuse at Ohio State, produced by actor and director George Clooney for HBO.
As Jordan’s bid for speaker of the House continues, he faces opposition due to the allegations and the survivors’ testimonies.