Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan is claiming vindication after the release of a report on a sexual abuse scandal at Ohio State University that showed there is no evidence he or other assistant coaches at the school knew about the allegations.
“They talked to hundreds … of people. And the university, for people who were harmed, is going to pay for their counseling,” Jordan told reporters Friday on Capitol Hill. “But it confirms everything I said. If we’d have known about it, we’d have reported it. It confirms everything I’ve said before. I didn’t know about anything. If I would’ve, I’d have done something.”
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The report — produced for the school by the law firm Perkins Coie — found that Richard Strauss, a longtime doctor for Ohio State athletic teams, sexually abused at least 177 male athletes from 1979 to 1996. Strauss — who killed himself in 2005 — worked with more than 16 sports teams at the university, as well as at the student health center and an off-campus clinic.
When the scandal broke last year, Jordan — a national champion wrestler who later became an assistant coach for the Ohio State wrestling team — adamantly denied having had any knowledge of the allegations against Strauss. Jordan was an assistant coach from 1986 to 1994.
But several wrestlers insist Jordan knew, directly or indirectly, about Strauss’ behavior, and he was named in lawsuits against the university. Other wrestlers told POLITICO they were regularly harassed in their training facility by sexually aggressive men who attended the university or worked there and that Jordan and other coaches did nothing to stop the behavior.
However, Friday’s report states investigations “did not identify any contemporaneous documentary evidence that members of the OSU coaching staff, including head coaches or assistant coaches, received or were aware of complaints regarding Strauss sexual misconduct.”
Yet the report also notes that athletes said they openly discussed Strauss’ behavior in front of the coaching staff, and 22 coaches “confirmed to the Investigative Team they were aware of rumors and/or complaints about Strauss, dating back to the late 1970s and extending into the mid-1990s.”
University President Michael Drake called the findings “shocking and painful to comprehend” in a letter released with the report.
“On behalf of the university, we offer our profound regret and sincere apologies to each person who endured Strauss’ abuse,” Drake wrote. “Our institution’s fundamental failure at the time to prevent this abuse was unacceptable — as were the inadequate efforts to thoroughly investigate complaints raised by students and staff members.”