Three former Ohio State wrestlers came forward to say that Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan knew of alleged sexual abuse by Dr. Richard J. Strauss while Jordan was an assistant wrestling coach from 1987 to 1995 at Ohio State in a report by NBC.
Since the report by NBC, Jordan has denied the allegations, supporters have questioned the timing by the former wrestlers, the president has weighed in and a fifth wrestler has come forward.
Jordan denies knowledge of abuse
Jordan has roundly denied allegations that he knew of any sexual abuse, first in statements by his office and then in an interview on Fox News Friday night.
“I never saw, never heard of, never was told about any kind of abuse,” Jordan told Fox News host Bret Baier. “If I did, I would have dealt with it. A good coach puts the interests of his student-athletes first.”
During the interview, Jordan questioned the motives of those connecting him to the abuse and pushed the theory popular among those supporting him: the timing of this story is a ploy to keep him from becoming the next Speaker of the House.
“I think the timing is suspect when you think about how this whole story came together after the Rosenstein hearing and the speaker’s race,” he said.
Jordan, a founding member of the Freedom Caucus and an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump, has been pegged as a favorite by hard-line conservatives to take Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan’s position as speaker of the house when he retires following the midterm elections.
Trump defends Jordan
Trump addressed the rumors about Jordan, defending the Republican member of the House aboard Air Force One while en route to a rally in Montana Thursday.
“I don’t believe them at all,” he said, referencing allegations that Jordan was aware of sexual abuse while he was a coach. “I believe him. I believe him 100 percent. No question in my mind.”
Trump continued that Jordan was one of the best people he has met in his time in Washington.
Fifth wrestler comes forward
Former Ohio State wrestler and UFC world champion Mark Coleman joined the other wrestlers who claimed Jordan knew of the alleged abuse this week saying in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that the only way Jordan doesn’t remember is if he has dementia.
“There’s no way unless he’s got dementia or something that he’s got no recollection of what was going on at Ohio State,” Coleman said. “I have nothing but respect for this man, I love this man, but he knew as far as I’m concerned.”