Saturday, 16 February, 2019

Ethics review requested as ex-coaches defend US Rep. Jordan

Ethics review requested as ex-coaches defend US Rep. Jordan Ethics review requested as ex-coaches defend US Rep. Jordan
Patty Aguilar | 10 July, 2018, 11:56

The probe would center on allegations that Jordan knew about and ignored rampant sexual abuse while he was an assistant coach for Ohio State University's wrestling team, and Jordan's recent assertions that he knew nothing about it.

Conservative Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz also defended Jordan, saying the allegations were a "deliberate attempt to knock the best oversight member of Congress off his game" ahead of Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Peter Strzok's testimony before the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees this week. It was the first example of a professional crisis communications firm getting involved in defending Jordan since the allegations became national news last week.

A watchdog group and a former special counsel to President Barack Obama are seeking an ethics review of Rep. Jim Jordan even as former colleagues back his statements that he didn't know about sexual abuse of wrestlers while coaching at Ohio State University.

He made a decision to come forward after seeing news reports about OSU asking alleged victims of Strauss to come forward, he said.

Amid the allegations, three former wrestlers at Ohio State defended Jordan. "We would have dealt with it if we'd have known about anything that happened", Jordan said.

In addition to DiSabato, two former OSU wrestlers told CNN Friday they were abused by Strauss while they were student athletes, though one said he didn't consider it abuse at the time. Another former Ohio State wrestler, Mike Schyck, said in an interview Friday that he and other former team members planned to "collectively say some things together", adding that the scandal is not about Jordan.

All the while, an investigation has been launched into Richard Strauss, who killed himself in 2005 when he was 67-years-old.

The former athlete says he didn't know of anyone who specifically addressed their concerns about Strauss directly to Hellickson or Jordan, but that withstanding, he didn't understand why Jordan issued public statements denying that he knew of any alleged abuse by Strauss.

Strauss is accused of inappropriately touching players during exams and for "ogling" players in the showers.

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"It's tough to put into words".

'I never knew about any type of abuse. Some said Strauss groped them barehanded during physicals, had them drop their trousers even while examining them for a cough or heartburn, and badgered students to go home with him.

"I have always known Jim Jordan to be honest, and I'm confident he would stand up for his athletes, just like he's always stood up for what's right", Scalise said in a statement. Jordan's spokesman says in a statement the congressman never saw or heard about any abuse or had any abuse reported when he was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State.

"Jordan definitely knew that these things were happening - yes, most definitely", Range told the Post.

"Conversations in a locker room are a lot different than people coming up and talking about abuse".

Yetts said he and his teammates talked to Jordan numerous times about their interactions with the doctor. "I don't know why he would try to sweep it under the rug". Some said Strauss groped them barehanded during physicals, had them drop their trousers even while examining them for a cough or heartburn, and badgered students to go home with him. "You just took your shower and got out", Michael Alf, who joined the team in the late 1980s, told The Post on Saturday.

DiSabato said he never spoke up about Strauss while he was at the university because he didn't recognize it as abuse and because he didn't want to jeopardize his wrestling career. "If we had heard of any abuse, we would have spoken up", said the statement from former head coach Russ Hellickson and former assistant coaches Dave Ruckman, Rex Holman, Ken Chertow, Myron Kharchilava and Kenny Ramsey Jr.

Diana Banister, president of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, declined to say when reached by email whether the firm was working for the coaches pro bono. He said he wasn't aware of such allegations against Strauss until reading recent news reports. Members of our family have been in contact with the investigation team at Perkins Coie.

"Along with the alleged victims, our family seeks the truth and is ... cooperating with The Ohio State University's independent investigation", the statement said.

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