A seventh former Ohio State University wrestler came forward Saturday with claims that Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanSunday shows preview: Democrats' struggle for voting rights bill comes to a head GOP's McCarthy has little incentive to work with Jan. 6 panel McCarthy says he won't cooperate with 'illegitimate' Jan. 6 probe MORE (R-Ohio) knew about alleged sexual abuse taking place on the wrestling team while he was an assistant coach.
David Range told The Washington Post that Jordan must have known about the alleged sexual abuse by athletic doctor Richard Strauss because it happened regularly and was often discussed.
“Jordan definitely knew that these things were happening — yes, most definitely,” Range told the newspaper. “It was there. He knew about it because it was an everyday occurrence.”
The former wrestler said he did not talk about the alleged abuse with Jordan directly and was unaware of any formal reports made about it. He said the lawmaker was in the locker room during conversations about the topic.
“We talked about it all the time in the locker room” with Jordan present, Range told the Post. “Everybody joked about it and talked about it all the time.”
Jordan has denied any knowledge of the alleged abuse since former wrestlers first told NBC News in a report published Tuesday that Jordan was aware of Strauss’s behavior. Strauss killed himself in 2005.
Jordan told Fox News’s Bret Baier Friday that the allegations are “false” and called the timing of the claims “suspect,” as he makes a bid to become the next Speaker of the House.
“Conversations in a locker room are a lot different than allegations of abuse or reported abuse,” the lawmaker said Friday, adding that “no one ever reported any abuse to me.”
Jordan also called into question the character of two of the former wrestlers during the Friday interview, saying one — Mike DiSabato — has a “vendetta” against him and the university.
The Post reported on Saturday that two former Ohio State wrestlers defended Jordan, saying they believed he was unaware of the allegations.
“It’s way more likely that [he] didn’t know than did know,” one of the ex-wrestlers told the newspaper. “We were so guarded around these guys. ... I think the only reason he’s being dragged into it is because of his political stature, and I think that’s terrible.”