A team doctor who allegedly molested athletes; coaches who reportedly knew but turned a blind eye. It's not the story of Michigan State University and Larry Nassar but that of Ohio State—and the allegations are touching a "powerful" Republican congressman. NBC News on Tuesday reported on claims from three former wrestlers who say the late Dr. Richard Strauss molested players during his tenure with the team from the mid-'70s to late '90s—and that Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the team's assistant wrestling coach for the 1986 to 1994 period, knew. Jordan denied being aware of the abuse claims several months ago (the university said in April it was investigating) and repeated that denial Tuesday. But those NBC News spoke with say that just isn't so. More:
- Former wrestler Dunyasha Yetts says he went straight to Jordan after Strauss began to remove his wrestling shorts when he sought help for a thumb injury. He said Jordan and then-head coach Russ Hellickson spoke with Strauss, who the New York Times reports committed suicide in 2005. Yetts says it was far from the only discussion players had with Jordan, and that it was commonly known Strauss showered with players though he didn't work out.
- Mike DiSabato, another player who spoke with NBC News, got detailed in an interview with CNN: "I never saw Doc Strauss ... where he didn't ask me to—where I went to see him for medicine or whatever, finger injury, shoulder, knee—where he did not want to examine my testicles. He groped. Every time. If you wanted your meds, if you wanted to stay healthy ... so that you could stay on scholarship, you grinned and beared it, so to speak."
- CNN says male members from 14 of the university's sports teams—among them baseball, fencing, football, swimming, and track—have levied allegations against Strauss per Ohio State. Some 150 people have been interviewed as part of the probe.
- What a rep for Jordan had to say after NBC News published its article: "Congressman Jordan never saw any abuse, never heard about any abuse and never had any abuse reported to him during his time as a coach at Ohio State. He has not been contacted by investigators about the matter but will assist them in any way they ask because, if what is alleged is true, the victims deserve a full investigation and justice."
- The Columbus Dispatch quotes a written statement from Porter Wright Morris & Arthur attorney Kathleen Trafford as saying Jordan was contacted by phone and email but did not respond to the interview requests. Jordan's rep countered this, demanding "that they send us the supposed communication" and noting Jordan remains "willing to assist."
- The Times gives context to Jordan's position in the House, describing the Freedom Caucus member as being floated as a potential successor to Paul Ryan as speaker. Though the Times sees that outcome as "unlikely," it believes he'll exert influence over the selection.
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