Jim Jordan’s Office Hits Back Against CNN Report He Knew About Doctor’s Sex Abuse: ‘Ludicrous’

“Congressman Jordan never saw or heard of any abuse, and if he had, he would have dealt with it,” said Jordan’s Communications Director Ian Fury in a statement.

CNN published a piece on Friday, after Ohio State University (OSU) announced it had reached a settlement with 11 of the doctor’s victims in 18 pending cases. The piece cited six former student wrestlers who claimed they were present when Jordan “heard or responded to sexual misconduct complaints about team doctor Richard Strauss.”

A senior Republican source close to Jordan blasted CNN for the report, which cites claims from some former wrestlers who have criminal records and are seeking monetary settlements from OSU.

The source said in a statement:

CNN was wrong about Russian collusion. CNN was wrong about Ukraine. CNN is now wrong about Jim Jordan. Ask anyone that knows him, but the idea that Congressman Jordan did anything wrong is ludicrous and CNN should be ashamed for even thinking otherwise.

There is no evidence that Jordan knew of any abuse or complaints about the abuse when he served as assistant coach at OSU from 1987 to 1995. Strauss was the team doctor between 1979 and 1998. The doctor committed suicide in 2005.

An investigation by law firm Perkins Coie for OSU said Strauss sexually abused at least 177 male student-patients during his time at OSU. The report does not say coaches were aware of the abuse, but that 22 unnamed coaches were “aware of rumors or complaints.”

According to CNN, since that report, more former student wrestlers have come forward to testify about Strauss, and the Ohio House of Representatives is considering a bill that would lift the statute of limitations for victims to come forward and sue OSU.

Jordan told CNN that those athletes accusing him of knowing about any abuse and not doing anything about it are not telling the truth.

“I feel sorry for these guys, the fact that they aren’t telling the truth. I mean these are guys I trained with, these are guys I worked out with, I ran with, wrestled with, and the idea that now they are saying what they are, it’s just not true.”

Jordan also noted that the investigation by Perkins Coie — the Democrat-linked law firm that hired Fusion GPS to produce the dossier claiming that candidate Donald Trump colluded with Russia — never mentioned his name.

“What they’re saying is just not true,” he said.

Dunyasha Yetts, one former wrestler, told CNN he complained to Jordan and then-head coach Russ Hellickson in 1992 after Strauss groped him during his initial physical exam, and again in 1993 when he injured his thumb and Strauss tried to remove his shorts. Yetts said he complained to Jordan and Jordan said something like, “If he tried that on me, I would kill him.” Yetts was the first one to claim that Jordan was aware of the abuse. He is suing OSU, and his case is not among those that were settled last week.

Yetts served 18 months in prison starting in 2007 for a fraudulent investment scheme he ran between 1998 and 2001, where he lied to clients to obtain millions of dollars he used to pay back debts and for his lifestyle, according to UPI. His victims included Minnesota Vikings cornerback and OSU football player Antoine Winfield. He served another 60-day jail sentence and two more years of probation for violating rules while on probation, according to the report.

Another former wrestler CNN cited was Adam DiSabato, who told Ohio state legislators in February that Jordan had called him in 2018 asking him to contradict statements his brother had made about Jordan knowing of Strauss’s abuse.

“Jim Jordan called me crying, crying. Groveling. On the 4th of July, begging me to go against my brother. Begging me. Crying for a half hour. That’s the kind of cover-ups that’s going on there,” DiSabato told state legislators.

DiSabato appeared at a protest last week with Melissa Ackison, a Republican running for the Ohio State Senate against opponent Ohio Rep. Bill Reineke (R), who is endorsed by Jordan.

CNN said a “handful” who spoke to them had no knowledge of Jordan hearing about the abuse. At least two of them described Jordan as a supportive coach, and one said there is no way Jordan would not have intervened had he known about the abuse.

“I would guess that, realistically, if you’re on the coaching staff you would know something about it, but whether they heard specifics and were more directly involved, that’s another question,” said Rick Burlenski.

Another former wrestler, Mike Alf, who was at OSU between 1988 and 1992, said, “I know Jim Jordan… . He would do anything to protect us.”

Then-head coach Hellickson told CNN in 2018 that he had a talk with Strauss about his physical contact with wrestlers and them being uncomfortable showering with him. He said Jordan may not have known about the alleged abuse.

Numerous other former wrestlers and coaches have defended Jordan against knowing about any abuse. Their statements have been compiled into one website by the Jordan campaign, as noted by CNN.

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