WASHINGTON — Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan was named in a new class-action lawsuit regarding allegations of sexual abuse at Ohio State University.
The Republican congressman, who was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State from 1986 to 1994, is one of three former school officials named in the lawsuit, Rolling Stone reported, including former team physician Richard Strauss, who has been accused of sexually abusing male athletes over two decades. He died in 2005.
The lawsuit, filed in district court Tuesday on behalf of an unnamed former Ohio State wrestler, says school officials stood by while the athletes were repeatedly “sexually abused, harassed, and molested” and “forced” to seek treatment from Strauss. The unnamed plaintiff says he was abused by Strauss at least 20 times.
The lawsuit cites the initial report from NBC News from other victims who said they told Jordan about the abuse but were ignored.
While some former wrestlers have said Jordan knew or should have known about the abuse, others have disagreed. Fifteen former athletes issued statements on a website last week, defending him against the allegations.
Four former Ohio State wrestlers filed a separate lawsuit Tuesday that said the school knew about Strauss’ abuse, but Jordan was not named in that lawsuit.
So far, Jordan has insisted he did not know about the abuse and never had any abuse reported to him. He has received support from Speaker Paul D. Ryan and members of the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus that he co-founded.
Jordan has said he will assist in the investigation by Ohio State in any way possible.
Ohio Rep. James B. Renacci, the Republican Senate nominee this year, defended Jordan in an email last week as “an honorable and good man who has a long record of speaking truth to power.”
“While there is no place in Congress for individuals who have engaged in acts of physical or sexual abuse in their past, no one has accused Jim Jordan of abuse and he’s made clear that if he had knowledge of the conduct taking place at Ohio State he would not have hesitated to address it,” Renacci said.
A spokeswoman for Renacci’s fall opponent, Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown, said the accusations should be taken seriously.
“We owe it to any victims and their families to get the bottom of what happened and figure out who’s responsible,” Jenny Donohue said in an email.
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