Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan Knew About Ohio State’s Dr. Richard Strauss’ Sexual Abuse, Lawsuit Alleges

A lawsuit filed this week alleges that Jordan – then a wrestling coach – knew about at least one allegation against Strauss in the '90s.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) talks to reporters before heading into a closed door hearing of the House Intelligence, Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees at the U.S. Capitol November 06, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

A lawsuit filed this week alleges that Jordan – then a wrestling coach – knew about at least one allegation against Strauss in the '90s.

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan reportedly knew about at least some of the allegations against late Ohio State University’s Dr. Richard Strauss, according to a lawsuit filed this week against Jordan and Ohio State University.

As The Dispatch reported, in the lawsuit, a college wrestling referee identified as John Doe said he told Jordan, a former assistant coach at Ohio State University from 1987-1995, about alleged misconduct by Strauss.

Following a wrestling match in the mid-’90s, the referee said Strauss entered a locker room and took a shower directly next to the referee, despite several other open showers, according to the report. Strauss reportedly began touching the referee, and when the referee looked at Strauss, he realized the doctor had been staring at him, masturbating.

The now 42-year-old man said following his exit from the shower, Strauss reportedly made comments about the referee’s body. The unnamed referee alleges he told the university’s head wrestling coach and a person identified as “Assistant Coach Jordan,” per The Columbus Dispatch.

The complaint alleges that both the head coach – Russ Hellickson – and Jordan responded and indicated that the behavior didn’t seem out of the ordinary.

“Yeah, that’s Strauss,” the coaches reportedly said.

According to a report from Ohio newspaper The Columbus Dispatch, accusations made against Strauss included one in which he drugged and raped an Ohio State University student athlete and another alleging that he sexually assaulted an underage person at a wrestling camp.

Jordan, a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, has denied the allegations. In a statement to the Columbus newspaper, a spokesperson for Jordan denied that he had been aware of Strauss’ alleged wrongdoings.

“Congressman Jordan never saw or heard of any kind of sexual abuse, and if he had he would’ve dealt with it. Multiple investigations have confirmed this simple fact,” Ian Fury, Jordan’s spokesman, said, per The Columbus Dispatch report.

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Per Friday’s article, Fury pointed to a report commissioned by Ohio State University that said only a fencing coach who had escalated a complaint against Strauss had been aware of any allegations, though as the newspaper noted, Fury did not mention the next portion of the document. The following portion claims Ohio State students openly discussed Strauss’ behaviors, which allegedly included inappropriate genital examinations and acts of voyeurism, directly in front of Ohio State coaches.

The report – conducted by Seattle, Washington-based lawfirm Perkins Coie –said investigators were unable to determine the extent of individual coaches’ knowledge of the allegations against Strauss, The Dispatch said.

The Perkins Coie report found at least 177 instances of sexual assault committed by the late Ohio State physician, who worked for the university for several decades, from 1979 to 1998. In September, Ohio State University released information that suggested Strauss had been involved in at least 1,500 instances of sexual abuse. The Perkins Coie report determined that Ohio State University officials knew about Strauss’ patterns of abuse but failed to stop them.

Strauss died by suicide in 2005, per The Dispatch.