'It's not true': Congressman rebuts claims he ignored wrestlers' sex abuse allegations

 

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."

SEE ALSO: Powerful GOP congressman accused of turning blind eye to Ohio State sexual abuse

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.

RELATED: Victims of Larry Nassar confront him in court

27 PHOTOS
Victims of Larry Nassar confront him in court
See Gallery
Victims of Larry Nassar confront him in court
Abuse victim Jessica Thomashow addresses former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar during the sentencing phase in Eaton, County Circuit Court on January 31, 2018 in Charlotte, Michigan. The number of identified sexual abuse victims of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar has grown to 265, a Michigan judge announced Wednesday as a final sentencing hearing commenced. Prosecutors said at least 65 victims were to confront Nassar in court, in the last of three sentencing hearings for the disgraced doctor who molested young girls and women for two decades in the guise of medical treatment. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Abuse victim Jessica Thomashow addresses former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar during the sentencing phase in in Eaton, County Circuit Court on January 31, 2018 in Charlotte, Michigan. The number of identified sexual abuse victims of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar has grown to 265, a Michigan judge announced Wednesday as a final sentencing hearing commenced. Prosecutors said at least 65 victims were to confront Nassar in court, in the last of three sentencing hearings for the disgraced doctor who molested young girls and women for two decades in the guise of medical treatment. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Erin Blayer, a victim of former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar during the sentencing phase in Eaton, County Circuit Court on January 31, 2018 in Charlotte, Michigan. The number of identified sexual abuse victims of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar has grown to 265, a Michigan judge announced Wednesday as a final sentencing hearing commenced. Prosecutors said at least 65 victims were to confront Nassar in court, in the last of three sentencing hearings for the disgraced doctor who molested young girls and women for two decades in the guise of medical treatment. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Tiffany Dutton, ,a victim of former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar stands with her husband Chad, during the sentencing phase in Eaton, County Circuit Court on January 31, 2018 in Charlotte, Michigan. The number of identified sexual abuse victims of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar has grown to 265, a Michigan judge announced Wednesday as a final sentencing hearing commenced. Prosecutors said at least 65 victims were to confront Nassar in court, in the last of three sentencing hearings for the disgraced doctor who molested young girls and women for two decades in the guise of medical treatment. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Victim Kaylee Lorincz wipes tears as she speaks at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Victim Rachael Denhollander speaks at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Victims and others look on as Rachael Denhollander speaks at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Sterling Riethman speaks as former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar listens during impact statements during the sentencing phase in Ingham County Circuit Court on January 24, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. More than 100 women and girls accuse Nassar of a pattern of serial abuse dating back two decades, including the Olympic gold-medal winners Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney -- who have lashed out at top sporting officials for failing to stop him. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar gives an impact statement during the sentencing phase in Ingham County Circuit Court on January 24, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. More than 100 women and girls accuse Nassar of a pattern of serial abuse dating back two decades, including the Olympic gold-medal winners Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney -- who have lashed out at top sporting officials for failing to stop him. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
LANSING, MI - JANUARY 17: Kayla Spicher delivers a victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar who has been accused of molesting more than 100 girls while he was a physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, where he had his sports-medicine practice on January 17, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. Nassar has pleaded guilty in Ingham County, Michigan, to sexually assaulting seven girls, but the judge is allowing all his accusers to speak. Nassar is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for possession of child pornography. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
LANSING, MI - JANUARY 17: With her mother by her side, Kayla Spicher (R) delivers a victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar who has been accused of molesting more than 100 girls while he was a physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, where he had his sports-medicine practice on January 17, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. Nassar has pleaded guilty in Ingham County, Michigan, to sexually assaulting seven girls, but the judge is allowing all his accusers to speak. Nassar is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for possession of child pornography. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
LANSING, MI - JANUARY 17: With her mother by her side, Helena Weick delivers a victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar who has been accused of molesting more than 100 girls while he was a physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, where he had his sports-medicine practice on January 17, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. Nassar has pleaded guilty in Ingham County, Michigan, to sexually assaulting seven girls, but the judge is allowing all his accusers to speak. Nassar is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for possession of child pornography. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
LANSING, MI - JANUARY 17: Larry Nassar (R) listens to a victim impact statement from Tiffany Lopez during his sentencing hearing after being accused of molesting more than 100 girls while he was a physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, where he had his sports-medicine practice on January 17, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. Nassar has pleaded guilty in Ingham County, Michigan, to sexually assaulting seven girls, but the judge is allowing all his accusers to speak. Nassar is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for possession of child pornography. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
LANSING, MI - JANUARY 17: Larry Nassar listens to victim impact statements during his sentencing hearing after being accused of molesting more than 100 girls while he was a physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University where he had his sports-medicine practice on January 17, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. Nassar has pleaded guilty in Ingham County, Michigan, to sexually assaulting seven girls, but the judge is allowing all his accusers to speak. Nassar is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for possession of child pornography. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
LANSING, MI - JANUARY 17: Larry Nassar (R) listens to a victim impact statement from Jeanette Antolin during his sentencing hearing after being accused of molesting more than 100 girls while he was a physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, where he had his sports-medicine practice on January 17, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. Nassar has pleaded guilty in Ingham County, Michigan, to sexually assaulting seven girls, but the judge is allowing all his accusers to speak. Nassar is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for possession of child pornography. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
LANSING, MI - JANUARY 17: Gwen Anderson, standing with her former gymnastics coach Tom Brennen, reads a victim impact statement during Larry Nassar's sentencing hearing on January 17, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. Nassar has pleaded guilty in Ingham County, Michigan, to sexually assaulting seven girls, but the judge is allowing all his accusers to speak. Nassar is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for possession of child pornography. More than 100 women and girls have accused Nassar of molesting them. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Victim Emma Ann Miller (C) speaks along side her mother Leslie Miller (R) at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar, (L) a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
LANSING, MI - JANUARY 17: With her husband by her side, Chelsea Williams delivers a victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar who has been accused of molesting more than 100 girls while he was a physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, where he had his sports-medicine practice on January 17, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. Nassar has pleaded guilty in Ingham County, Michigan, to sexually assaulting seven girls, but the judge is allowing all his accusers to speak. Nassar is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for possession of child pornography. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Victim Hannah Morrow speaks at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar, (L) a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Victim Kaylee McDowell speaks at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Victim and former gymnast Aly Raisman appears before speaking at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Victim and former gymnast Aly Raisman appears before speaking at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Victim and former gymnast Bailey Lorencen speaks at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Victim Clasina Syrovy speaks at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, sits in the courtroom during his sentencing hearing in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina presides over the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Victim Clasina Syrovy speaks at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

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.

Read Full Story