‘Not only was Jim a great wrestling coach, but he has also consistently proven to be a man of highest integrity…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) A few former wrestlers at Ohio State University accused Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio and a likely Freedom Caucus candidate for House Speaker, of failing to act on his alleged knowledge that team members were being sexually abused while on the team.
But other ex-wrestlers who know Jordan have come to his defense, as have eight members of Congress, including Reps. Andy Biggs, Mark Meadows, Ken Buck, Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, Jody Hice, and Scott Perry — all who released statements supporting Jordan.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, led the movement to defend Jordan’s character against the left’s smear campaign yesterday, saying the accusation “doesn’t pass the smell test.”
“They waited over 20 years to make these allegations with the willing and very expensive assistance of Perkins Coie, a Washington, DC-based dirty tricks law firm. Perkins Coie boasts a client roster that includes the DNC, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and several Democrat Members of Congress,” Gohmert said in a press release.
Gaetz accused Democrats of using this as a tactic to sabotage investigations into the 2016 presidential election.
“The question remains how is Congressman Jim Jordan supposed to prove that he didn’t know something 28 years ago? Could any of us?” Gaetz wrote. “This is a deliberate attempt to knock the best oversight member of Congress off his game the week Peter Strzok is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary and [Oversight and Government Reform] Committee.”
Jordan served as assistant coach for the wrestling team from 1986 to 1994, NBC News reported.
The wrestlers accused Dr. Richard Strauss, who was the team’s physician, of abusing wrestlers from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s.
The university began an investigation into Strauss’ conduct in April, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
Jordan denied knowledge of Strauss’s alleged abuse.
“We knew of no abuse, never heard of abuse. If we had, we would have reported it,” Jordan said, according to CNN. “If, in fact, there’s problems, we want justice for the people who were victims, obviously, and as I said, we are happy to talk with the folks who are doing the investigation. But the things they said about me just were flat-out not true.”
Rep. Gosar said the accusations are not about bringing justice, since Strauss committed suicide in 2005.
“In the many years I have known Jim Jordan, he has served with integrity and good character,” Gosar wrote. “The timing of these allegations, coming 13 years after the doctor died, combined with the questionable background of the accusers, and involving the counsel for the DNC, makes one thing clear: these are mere political statements intended to smear a good man.”
Jordan called the timing “suspect” during an interview on Fox News.
Jordan’s name has arisen as a challenger for the House Speaker’s position after Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, steps down in 2019.
“This has every appearance of greed trying to gain twice from the same smear,” Gohmert said. “First, trying to finally have a successful lawsuit against Ohio State University after failed previous claims. Second, whatever payments were received for trying to destroy President Trump may be available to destroy other high-achieving Republicans, like Jim Jordan.”
A group of former assistant coaches wrote a joint statement defending Jordan, as did 14 former wrestlers who knew Jordan.
“What has been said about Jim Jordan is absolutely wrong,” said Rex Holman, Dave Ruckman, Ken Chertow, Myron Kharchilava and Kenny Ramsey Jr, CNN reported. “We all worked on the wrestling coaching staff during Jim’s tenure at The Ohio State University. None of us saw or heard of abuse of OSU wrestlers. The well-being of student-athletes was all of our concern. If we had heard of any abuse, we would have spoken up.”
“Not only was Jim a great wrestling coach, but he has also consistently proven to be a man of highest integrity and certainly would not have turned his back on any wrong-doing,” said former wrestler Andy Stickley in a statement.
Two powerful liberals linked to filed a request with the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether Jordan lied about being unaware of the abuse.
Norm Eisen, former White House Special Counsel for Ethics and Government Reform under Barack Obama, and Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a liberal group opposed to Citizens United, filed the request for an investigation.
“If it is determined that Rep. Jordan is lying to cover up his failure to protect student wrestlers under his supervision from sexual abuses, the House must hold Rep. Jordan accountable for his lies,” Eisen said.
Eisen’s statements show the investigation is focused on exposing him as a liar, rather than discovering the truth.
Rep. Biggs vouched for Jordan and expressed his confidence that the investigation would reveal a clear record.
“In the United States, all citizens are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Jim Jordan is not the exception. I trust Jim Jordan’s integrity,” Biggs said. “He’s been in public life for nearly two decades and has earned the reputation of a man of integrity. I am confident that when all facts are revealed, Congressman Jordan will be vindicated.”