Accusers Revisit Jim Jordan's Alleged Role in Abuse Cover-Up

They claim the former OSU wrestling coach failed to act on allegations against Richard Strauss
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2023 10:30 AM CDT
Accusers Revisit Jim Jordan's Alleged Role in Abuse Cover-Up
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee is followed by reporters as he leaves a meeting at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Jim Jordan should not be speaker of the House, according to four former Ohio State University wrestlers who claim the House Judiciary Committee chairman failed to protect them from a sexual predator. Jordan served as assistant coach of the OSU wrestling team from 1986 to 1994, when Richard Strauss was employed as a school physician. A 2019 investigative report found Strauss, who died in 2005, sexually abused at least 177 students from 1979 to 1997, including through 47 cases of rape. The 2019 investigation found coaches and athletic administrators knew Strauss was abusing male athletes and failed to stop him, though individual names were redacted in the public report. Jordan has claimed he never saw or heard about any abuse while at the school.

But some former wrestlers have disputed that. Dunyasha Yetts has said he personally told Jordan that Strauss tried to remove his shorts when he went to see the doctor about a thumb injury. "He doesn't deserve to be House speaker," Yetts now tells NBC News. "He still has to answer for what happened to us." Other Strauss accusers have backed up Yetts' claim that Jordan knew what the doctor was up to, claiming the coach took part in locker room discussions to that effect. "There's no way he didn't know what was going on," says Mike Schyck, another former OSU wrestler. "Do you really want a guy in that job who chose not to stand up for his guys? Is that the kind of character trait you want for a House speaker?"

"None of us used the words 'sexual abuse' when we talked about what Doc Strauss was doing to us," but Jordan "knew about it because we talked about it all the time in the locker room, at practices, everywhere," says a third former OSU wrestler, identified as John Doe in a lawsuit against the university. In a 2018 interview, Jordan noted "conversations in a locker room are a lot different than allegations of abuse. No one ever reported any abuse to me." But he went on to deny knowledge of these locker room discussions, too. Rocky Ratliff, a former OSU wrestler and lawyer representing plaintiffs in the suit against the school, now wants to hear him say the same under oath. Ratliff, who claims Jordan "abandoned his former wrestlers," plans to have him deposed, per NBC.

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Julie DiCaro at Deadspin argues the "alleged knowledge of a college sex abuse scandal and allegations of taking part in a cover-up" alone should put Jordan out of the running for House speaker—a role that would put him second in line for the presidency—if not his efforts "to try to steal a decided election for a megalomaniac who lost it fair and square." But Rep. Nancy Mace seems unperturbed. The South Carolina Republican, who's suggested former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy didn't do enough for abuse survivors, publicly endorsed Jordan for speaker Sunday on Face the Nation. Questioned about the allegations against him, Mace claimed she was not aware of them. "I don't know anything," but "he's not indicted," she said, per Newsweek. (More Jim Jordan stories.)

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