WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, says the release of a long-awaited report on a former Ohio State University doctor who groped male students during exams vindicates his position that he did not know Dr. Richard Strauss was abusing students on a wrestling team Jordan coached.
The report does not mention Jordan by name. It said investigators “could not make conclusive determinations about each and every allegation made about a particular coach’s knowledge.”
The report compiled by the Seattle-based law firm Perkins Coie found that Strauss abused at least 177 students between 1979 and 1998 by conducting invasive exams that included unwarranted genital touching. In 1996, he was suspended as a treating physician and removed from the athletic department over the fondling complaints. After trying to fight the suspension, Strauss left the university in 1998 and killed himself in 2005.
A statement released by Jordan’s communications director Ian Fury said his boss was pleased the investigation has concluded and that OSU is offering free counseling for victims affected by Strauss’ actions.
“The investigators concluded what we have said from the beginning: Congressman Jordan never knew of any abuse, and if he had he would have dealt with it,” said a statement from Fury. “As illustrated in the report, Investigators ‘did not identify any other contemporaneous documentary evidence indicating that members of the OSU coaching staff, including head coaches or assistant coaches, received or were aware of complaints regarding Strauss’ sexual misconduct.’”
Jordan’s opponent in the past election, Democrat Janet Garrett, still called for his resignation Friday.
“While the report stopped short of calling him out by name, it clearly stated that coaches, other doctors and administrators of the Athletic Department knew of the abuse,” Garrett said in a press release. “Therefore, I am calling for Congressman Jim Jordan to resign immediately, as he has lost his capacity to honorably serve the people of Ohio. If he were still a coach at Ohio State, he would be fired. There is no reason he should continue to serve in the US Congress.
Last year, several former Ohio State University wrestlers told NBC News that Jordan failed to act in response to their complaints that Strauss inappropriately fondled, groped and ogled them when Jordan served as an Ohio State University assistant wrestling coach from the mid 1980s through the mid 1990s. Jordan denied knowing of improprieties, saying that locker room conversations “are a lot different than people coming up and talking about abuse.” Several former coaches and wrestlers backed Jordan’s version of events.
The report released Friday quoted a former student as saying that Strauss’ behavior was an “open secret” in the athletic department, and that 22 coaches confirmed to the investigative team that they’d heard rumors and complaints about Strauss from the late 1970s through the mid 1990s. It also said that the with the exception of complaints lodged by the school’s fencing team coach, the investigators “did not identify any other contemporaneous documentary evidence indicating that members of the OSU coaching staff, including head coaches or assistant coaches, received or were aware of complaints regarding Strauss sexual misconduct.”
“However, the Investigative Team received allegations from numerous student-athletes indicating that they talked about Strauss’ inappropriate genital exams and complained about Strauss’ locker room and shower room voyeurism, directly to or in front coaching staff,” the report said. “We could not make conclusive determinations about each and every allegation made about a particular coach’s knowledge; a number of coaches denied (or did not recall) being aware of any complaints or even rumors about Strauss, and - as noted above - we did not locate documentary evidence indicating otherwise.”