House Republicans are refusing to publicly defend Tea Party firebrand Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) as more details come to light about the congressman’s role in the Ohio State University sexual assault scandal.
Rep. Jordan worked as an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State from 1987 to 1995, during which time multiple victims have alleged team physician Richard Strauss sexually abused them and fostered a culture of regular sexual harassment.
“I considered Jim Jordan a friend,” former Ohio State wrestler Mike DiSabato told NBC. “But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on.”
“When you look at the definition of sexual abuse and sexual assault — and Jim Jordan went on record saying he knew about the facilities, he took showers with us. He saw Dr. Strauss and others perform these acts in front of us,” DiSabato told CNN.
More former Ohio State wrestlers have come forward to accuse Rep. Jordan of having known about the abuse, with The New York Times reporting a total of five of Jordan’s former student-athletes disputing the congressman’s denials of knowing about the abuse.
Rep. Jordan is known as a far-right leader in the Republican caucus.
Jordan was elected to congress in 2006, following the retirement of long-time Rep. Mike Oxley (R-OH). He had served a decade in the Ohio legislature following his career as an assistant coach at Ohio State.
In 2013, Jordan was widely credited with leading the government shutdown. Following the debacle, the former chairman of the Republic Study Committee was a founder of the even more conservative House Freedom Caucus.
Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows (R-NC) told the conservative Washington Examiner on Thursday that members were standing by Jordan.
“We not only stand by him, but believe him to be a man of character and honor, and Congress would be well served to have more Jim Jordans serving on Capitol Hill,” Meadows said.
That was not the experience CNN had the day following Meadows’ claims.
“CNN reached out to the offices of most Freedom Caucus members on Friday and did not receive on-the-record statements of support for Jordan other than the ones provided by Meadows and Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican who is sometimes described as a member of the Freedom Caucus but does not identify himself as one,” CNN reported.