Former OSU wrestler defends Jordan against allegations
All-American wrestler Nick Nutter said he believes that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) did not know about allegations of sexual abuse on the Ohio State University wrestling team when he was an assistant coach there.
Nutter, who wrestled at the school in the 1990s, said Jordan was a “goody two-shoes” and simply wasn’t the type of guy to whom he would bring those type of allegations.
“Jim Jordan was almost intimidatingly a goody two-shoes. I never heard the man cuss. If I was near him, I would never even say the word penis because I would hate for him to judge me and think I’m a sinner and deviant,” Nutter told The Hill in a telephone interview.
“Of all people, he is the guy I would never, ever tell. Because 1. I’m embarrassed and 2. I wouldn’t want him to think I’m a deviant person.”
Nutter is latest former OSU wrestler to come forward in defense of Jordan.
OSU in April launched an independent investigation into the abuse allegations against team doctor Richard Strauss, who killed himself in 2005, and whether enough was done to protect the students.
Nutter said the wrestlers would often joke about Strauss’s “creepy” and “inappropriate” behavior whenever they would seek treatment or go in for a medical exam, which he thinks was an effort to make light of a deeply embarrassing and uncomfortable situation.
They even had a nickname for him: “Dr. Jelly Paws.”
Strauss, Nutter said, would make excuses to grope his genitalia — such as “checking his lymph nodes” — even when he would go in with a broken finger.
“He made up an excuse,” Nutter said. “I was young and naive and was like ‘OK, who am I to question a doctor?’”
The All-American wrestler says every time he was injured, he would grapple with whether it was worth a visit to Strauss.
“Every time I got hurt I would think, how bad is it? Will it go away on its own? I figured my co-pay was a groping to get medicine,” he said. “I probably let some sicknesses go on because I didn’t want to go see Dr. Strauss.”
Nutter recalled that one time, Strauss told him to come to his residence after he contracted poison ivy. Nutter, who was nervous about going to Strauss’s house, said the doctor ended up fondling him while he laid naked on the bed.
“Before I went to his house, I told my roommates, ‘If I’m not back in three hours, come look for me,’” Nutter said.
Jordan, who has adamantly denied he knew about the allegations of abuse, has called the timing of the accusations against himself “suspicious.”
Jordan declined to comment further for this story.
But Jordan said last week that one of the initial accusers, former Ohio State wrestler Mike DiSabato, has a criminal record and a “vendetta” against both the school and Jordan’s family.
“I considered Jim Jordan a friend,” DiSabato told NBC last week. “But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on.”
Another former wrestler, speaking anonymously with CNN, told the network on Tuesday that “Jordan is denying this because obviously it would be political suicide for him.”
“He’s still denying it,” the former wrestler added. “Jim Jordan knew. He didn’t do anything about it.”
Fourteen other wrestlers went on the record Tuesday to refute claims that Jordan knew or must have known that student athletes were allegedly being abused by Strauss in the 1980s and ’90s.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said on Tuesday that every member of the roughly 30-member House Freedom Caucus — which Meadows chairs — backed Jordan.
Meadows went on to say that he saw no reason for Jordan to step down from his leadership role on the caucus.
“Jim Jordan is a man of integrity and honor who always fights for the underdog,” Meadows said. “His reputation with us has been built with me over the last six years. Any story that would suggest that he is someone who is not willing to fight for those who have been disadvantaged is just not accurate based on the man I’ve come to know and admire.”
Nutter said he decided to come forward with his allegations of abuse, detailing them in an email to the law firm conducting the investigation after DiSabato encouraged former Buckeye wrestlers to come forward with their stories earlier this year.
But now Nutter worries that the focus has shifted away from Strauss and onto Jordan’s alleged role in the abuses.
“I was under the assumption we were going to release this, and it was going to be about the inappropriateness of Doctor Strauss, but it’s turned into a manhunt on Jim Jordan,” Nutter said. “This is not what I signed up for.”
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