TW: The following article describes allegations of on-campus sexual assaults by a medical professional.
According to CNN , Ohio State University (OSU) is currently investigating the actions of Dr. Richard Strauss over claims he sexually abused male athletes at the university while he was team doctor for the school’s wrestling program, and other athletic teams, between 1978 and 1998. Strauss died in 2005.
OSU have stated that they have received allegations of sexual misconduct by Strauss from 14 sports teams and from patients of the school’s student health services unit. In response to these allegations the university said they have interviewed more than 150 former students and/or witnesses.
Mark Coleman, the UFC’s first heavyweight champion, wrestled at Ohio State in the 1980s and 90s. According The Columbus Dispatch, Coleman once claimed in a video that Strauss groped him during a physical.
Coleman is one of a handful of former wrestlers who have come forward in recent days to not only claim Strauss molested them, but that U.S Representative Jim Jordan, a Republican who represents Ohio’s 4th congressional district, had knowledge of these types of accusations regarding Strauss. Jordan has denied having such knowledge.
Jordan is a two time NCAA Division I wrestling champion (from his time at the University of Wisonsin-Madison) and was assistant wrestling coach at OSU between 1996 and 1994. In addition to being one of the most influential Republicans in Congress, Jordan is a founder of the conservative Freedom Caucus and a key actor in the GOP attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). He is also a vocal critic of the Robert Mueller led probe of Russian interference in the 2016 General Election.
Jordan’s office told CNN that the congressman did not see or hear about any abuse during his time as a coach at OSU. A spokesman for Jordan also said that the politician had not been contacted by investigators regarding the matter.
This statement was contradicted on Tuesday by a law firm representing OSU. According to The Charlotte Observer, the law firm had previously contacted Jordan’s office by phone and email requesting he participate in an interview.
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Coleman said: “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. I have nothing but respect for this man, I love this man, but he knew as far as I’m concerned.”
Another former student-wrestler making allegations against the late Dr. Strauss is Mike DiSabato, who wrestled at OSU in the 1980s. DiSabato told CNN that he was groped by Strauss dozens of times.
“I never saw Doc Strauss over a nine-year time frame where he didn’t ask me to — where I went to see him for medicine or whatever, finger injury, shoulder, knee — where he did not want to examine my testicles,” said DiSabato. “He groped. Every time.”
DiSabato claimed that his first encounter with Strauss occurred when he was 14 years old, while Strauss was conducting research on body fat and high school wrestlers. DiSabato also said that he was inspired to come forwards with his story after the public downfall of Dr. Larry Nassar, who in 2017 was found guilty of sexually abusing at least 250 young women involved with USA Gymnastics.
According to CNN, DiSabato has claimed that the statements from Jordan’s office about the congressman not knowing about the allegations while at OSU are “not true.” DiSabato stated that, “I don’t think Jim and/or a lot of folks — coaches, administrators — really understood that touching a man’s genitals without the need to do so is... a definition of sexual abuse and sexual assault.”
Dunyasha Yetts, who also wrestled at OSU, said Strauss groped him at least three times (per The Charlotte Observer). Yetts said these incidents happened during the mid-1990s.
Yetts is on record stating that he and Jordan spoke frequently about Strauss. Yetts said he told Jordan about his own experiences with Strauss in 1992. “[Jordan would] even make comments, ‘This guy better not touch me,’” Yetts said.
After DiSabato and Yetts went public with their stories of abuse at OSU and allegations that Rep. Jordan knew about it, Jordan has reportedly received emails from another alleged victim of sexual abuse.
A source within Jordan’s office told CNN that the alleged victim claimed the abuse occurred during Jordan’s time as an assistant wrestling coach. The source said that the emails were ‘vaguely threatening’ and that Capitol Hill police will be notified about the messages.
Shawn Dailey, who was at OSU in the mid-1990s, echoes much of what DiSabato and Yetts have claimed. In an interview with NBC News Dailey said that Strauss groped him multiple times. He also claimed to have been involved in the conversation Yetts claimed he had with Jordan about the abuse.
“I participated with [Jordan] and the other wrestlers in locker-room talk about Strauss. We all did,” said Dailey. “It was very common knowledge in the locker room that if you went to Dr. Strauss for anything, you would have to pull your pants down.”
At a Fourth of July event in Fremont, Ohio, Jordan restated to the reporters that he had no knowledge of any abuse by Strauss at OSU.
U.S. President Donald Trump stated on Thursday night that he believed Jordan’s side of this story. Speaking aboard Air Force One , Trump had this to say:
“I don’t believe them at all,” referring to allegations against Jordan. “I believe him. Jim Jordan is one of the most outstanding people I’ve met since I’ve been in Washington. I believe him 100%. No question in my mind. I believe Jim Jordan 100%. He’s an outstanding man.”