Rep. Jim Jordan, accused of neglecting' college wrestlers' decades-old allegations of sexual abuse by their Ohio State University team doctor, denied the claims against him.
"It's not true," Jordan told Politico. "I never knew about any type of abuse. If I did, I would have done something about it. And look, if there are people who are abused, then that's terrible and we want justice to happen."
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Jordan was responding to a report by NBC News in which three former Ohio State wrestlers said it was common knowledge that Dr. Richard Strauss ─ who died in 2005 ─ abused team members while he was team doctor from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s. The wrestlers, two of whom were identified by name, said Strauss showered regularly with them and inappropriately touched them during appointments. The wrestlers said it would have been impossible for Jordan not to know what was going on. One said he told Jordan directly about the abuse.
The accusers said they came forward months ago, after the conviction earlier this year of former Olympics gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Ohio State announced in April that it was investigating the claims.
Jordan, a Republican leader of the House's conservative Freedom Caucus and a potential candidate to succeed retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan, was an assistant Ohio State wrestling coach from 1986 to 1994. He has repeatedly said he knew nothing of the abuse until the former students went public this year.
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Ryan has said through a spokesman that the allegations were serious, and that he was waiting for the result of the university's investigation.
Jordan is expected to appear in public Wednesday at an Independence Day rally in Ohio.
His denials have angered the accusers, including former wrestler Mike DiSabato, who said he alerted Jordan earlier this year about his plans to go public, and that Jordan told him to keep him out of it.
"I considered Jim Jordan a friend," DiSabato told NBC News. "But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn't know what was going on.
A spokesman for Jordan told NBC News that the congressman had not been contacted by investigators but would help them if they asked. But a law firm investigating the allegations for Ohio State said they'd tried contacting Jordan's office by email and phone, but he had not responded.
Jordan told Politico that his office couldn't find records of those inquiries, and reiterated his offer to help investigators.