Pelosi: Jim Jordan 'should have known' about OSU abuse

Pelosi: Jim Jordan 'should have known' about OSU abuse
© Greg Nash

Amid accusations that Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanJordan says FBI used 'crushing power of the state' to probe Trump campaign based on dossier GOP lawmakers nearing deal to get Nellie Ohr to testify The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE (R-Ohio) knew and did not report abuse of wrestlers as a college coach years ago, House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiPelosi calls on Ryan to bring long-term Violence Against Women Act to floor Dems' confidence swells with midterms fast approaching GOP: The economy will shield us from blue wave MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Jordan "should have known."

“He is a person who has always said — oh my gosh, you look at his record — so-and-so should have known this, so-and-so should have known that,” Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol. “Well, many people say that he did know. And by his own standard he should have known.”

A number of former Ohio State University (OSU) wrestlers have emerged in recent months with accusations that they’d been sexually abused years ago by Richard Strauss, a former medical doctor who treated university athletes across a spectrum of sports.

Some of the accusers have said that Jordan, who was an assistant coach with OSU’s wrestling team in the late '80s and early '90s, knew of the misconduct and did nothing to prevent it — charges Jordan has vehemently denied.

Pelosi noted that Jordan, a conservative firebrand who co-founded the House Freedom Caucus, has repeatedly held those in power — particularly Democrats — to high standards of accountability for misconduct under their watch. The same standard, she said, should now be applied to Jordan for any abuse of OSU wrestlers during his time with the team.

“Jim Jordan had a duty to protect them,” Pelosi said of the team members. “They say he failed.” 

In April, OSU launched an internal investigation into the allegations against Strauss, who died in 2005. The probe is being conducted by Perkins Coie, a Seattle-based legal behemoth.

Jordan, a six-term lawmaker, has taken a defiant stance, going after the media for pursuing claims against him. He has attacked Perkins Coie, which is known for its ties to the Democratic Party. And he said some of those now accusing him turned a blind eye to the alleged abuse.

Jordan is gaining more and more support from his fellow Republicans, including President TrumpDonald John TrumpOver 100 lawmakers consistently voted against chemical safeguards: study CNN's Anderson Cooper unloads on Trump Jr. for spreading 'idiotic' conspiracy theories about him Cohn: Jamie Dimon would be 'phenomenal' president MORE, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPelosi calls on Ryan to bring long-term Violence Against Women Act to floor Juan Williams: America warms up to socialism Jordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker MORE (R-Wis.) and the other members of the Freedom Caucus.

"I'm getting all kinds of support because it's the truth," Jordan said Wednesday.

Pelosi suggested another approach: Jordan, she said, should scrap the attacks on the accusers and simply work with investigators to discern the extent of any abuse at OSU.

“Rather than deny and dismiss them, he should fully cooperate with the investigation,” she said. “That’s what I think he should do.”

Jordan's office previously said the congressman will assist the investigation "in any way they ask, because if what is alleged is true, the victims deserve a full investigation and justice.”

Pelosi also floated the idea that Congress may have an oversight role “at some point” following OSU’s internal investigation.

“We’ll just see how this goes forward,” she said.