"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends than that good men should look on and do nothing."
- John Stuart Mill
Today, NBC News released an explosive report claiming that Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan ignored multiple reports of sexual abuse as assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University between 1986 and 1994.
Team doctor Richard Strauss, who died in 2005, worked at OSU from 1978 to 1988 and served as physician for the wrestling team from 1981 to 1995. According to a letter from former team member Mike DiSabato, whose accusations launched the investigation, Strauss "sexually assaulted male athletes in at least fifteen varsity sports...We estimate [he] sexually assaulted and/or raped a minimum of 1,500/2,000 athletes."
DiSabato and other teammates describe Strauss regularly showering with them for an hour at a time, as well as inappropriately touching them during appointments. An anonymous teammate said, "everybody used to snicker about how you go into his office for a sore shoulder and he tells you to take your pants down." According to them, it would have been "impossible" for Jordan to have been unaware of this behavior.
Multiple players claim to have told Jordan about these incidents, but he did not report them to higher-ups at the university. Last April, a few weeks after law firm Perkins Coie began its investigation into Strauss and OSU, DiSabato sent an email to Jordan and his brother Jeff, a wrestling coach in Ohio, for assurance that they would back up his claims, writing, "You have the platform to cut through the double talk, placation and finger-pointing." Jordan never responded to the email and has yet to be questioned by Perkins Coie, but he told DiSabato that he did not want to be "involved," and Jeff Jordan, who didn't attend or work for OSU, offered no insights.
Jordan, who is a front-runner to replace Paul Ryan as Speaker should the Republicans retain the House this fall, has not commented on today's events. Spokesperson Ian Fury released a terse statement alleging that the Congressman "never saw any abuse, never heard about any abuse, and never had any abuse reported to him." Jordan has a tenuous relationship with the truth: in an interview with Anderson Cooper last April, he claimed he could not name a single lie that President Trump has told, but recently accused Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of subpoenaing phone calls, something Rosenstein explained was impossible.
In 2011, assistant Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky was found to have raped several young boys. Investigations later revealed that higher-ups at the University knew about his behavior and covered it up, including coach Joe Paterno and President Graham Spanier. But while that scandal was the mightiest the college sports world had ever seen, it did not resonate all the way to the halls of Congress. As DiSabato said, “I considered Jim Jordan a friend. But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on.”