Wrestlers once coached by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, at Ohio State University more than two decades ago are accusing the congressman of lying after he denied knowing about rumors that a team doctor was sexually abusing athletes, according to a report.
“I considered Jim Jordan a friend,” Mike DiSabato, one of the doctor's accusers, told NBC News in a report published Tuesday. “But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on.”
Other former wrestlers told NBC that it was "common knowledge" that the doctor showered with students and touched them during appointments, and that Jordan had to have been aware when he was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State from 1986 to 1994.
Ohio State in April launched an investigation into Dr. Richard Strauss, who died in 2005, following claims he molested athletes and students during his tenure at the university from 1978 to 1998.
A spokesman for Jordan told the Washington Examiner that the congressman was not aware of the allegations when he was a faculty member.
“Congressman Jordan never saw any abuse, never heard about any abuse, and never had any abuse reported to him during his time as a coach at Ohio State," said a statement from Jordan's office. "He has not been contacted by investigators about the matter but will assist them in any way they ask, because if what is alleged is true, the victims deserve a full investigation and justice.”
A representative for House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said the accusations are "serious," as is the overarching issue of sexual misconduct.
"The university has rightfully initiated a full investigation into the matter. The speaker will await the findings of that inquiry," Doug Andres, Ryan's spokesman, said in a statement.
Ohio State has hired law firm Perkins Coie to conduct the probe, and university officials told NBC investigators it is looking into claims leveled against Strauss from former athletes competing in 14 different sports, as well as Student Health Services patients.
Jordan will likely be asked questions as part of the inquiry, NBC reported.