News & Politics

Rep. Jim Jordan Denies He Ignored Sexual Abuse at Ohio State: 'Absolutely Not True'

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) on Fox News' Special Report.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) vigorously denied on Friday allegations that he ignored reports of sexual abuse while he was a wrestling coach at The Ohio State University.

“It’s absolutely not true,” Jordan told radio talker Bob Frantz on Cleveland’s AM 1420. “If any abuse had been reported to me, I would have reported it.”

Jordan, a former college wrestling champion, told Fox News’ Bret Baier essentially the same thing: “I never saw, never heard of, never was told about any type of abuse,” he said. “If I had been, I would have dealt with it. Our coaching staff — we would have dealt with it. These were our student-athletes. A good coach puts the interests of his student-athletes first.”

Former wrestling team physician Dr. Richard Strauss is accused of molesting student-athletes while he served as the team’s doctor from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s.  Jordan worked as an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State from 1987 until 1995.

Ohio State announced in April it was opening an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Strauss, who died in 2005. Five former wrestlers are now accusing Jordan of turning a blind eye to the abuse.

One of the former wrestlers, Mike DiSabato, said during an interview on CNN that Jordan was well aware of the misconduct because they used to talk about it in the locker room.

“Conversations in a locker room are a lot different than allegations of abuse or reported abuse to us,” Jordan said on Fox News’ “Special Report.” “No one ever reported any abuse to me. If they had, I would have dealt with it,” he insisted.

Jordan hinted that DiSabato might have some ulterior motives. “Mike DiSabato has a vendetta against Ohio State,” he declared. “He lost a licensing agreement with Ohio State, he’s out to get Ohio State. He has a vendetta against our family. He was arrested just five months ago threatening Chris Spielman’s lawyer… he’s got all sorts of lawsuits against him,” Jordan pointed out, adding that CNN featured the sketchy DiSabato on its network three times in one day.

DiSabato is also accused of intimidating and bullying the widow of a Marine who was killed in combat in Iraq over a memorial fund set up in her husband’s name, according to Chuck Ross at the Daily Caller. Karen Mendoza is the wife of Ray Mendoza, a former teammate of DiSabato’s who was killed in 2005.

“I question the intent, the authenticity, the verity, that Mike DiSabato shares in any of his words or actions,” Mendoza said in a statement.

Dunyasha Yetts, another former OSU wrestler who is accusing Jordan of ignoring the allegations, served time in prison for a $1.8 million fraud scheme, the DCNF reported.

Yetts’ biggest victim was former NFL star Antoine Winfield, who was bilked out of $1.3 million. Yetts convinced Winfield to invest his NFL signing bonus with Yetts’ firm, World Wide Sports. As part of the scam, Yetts provided Winfield with false documents claiming to show his investments. Yetts was instead spending money on country club memberships, cars, student loans, and credit card payments.

NBC News did not report that Yetts filed a lawsuit in May against U.S. Well Service, a fracking company, claiming that he faced discrimination and sexual harassment. Yetts claims that one of his supervisors at the company made sexual remarks toward him and sent him sexually suggestive text messages. He also claimed that he was overlooked for a supervisor position because he is black.

For his part, DiSabato has been involved in several lawsuits, including one against OSU. He was also recently sued for defamation and libel.

Police records reviewed by The Daily Caller News Foundation show that DiSabato was arrested on Feb. 1 on charges of telecommunications threats against Bret Adams, a sports agent who represents Chris Spielman, a former NFL star who played football at OSU.

A spokeswoman for the law firm representing Ohio State said that attorneys with Perkins Coie, the law firm investigating the Strauss allegations on behalf of OSU, “had previously contacted Rep. Jordan’s office by email and phone to request that he participate in an interview.” She told NBC News: “To date, Rep. Jordan has not responded to those requests. The investigative team is continuing its efforts to schedule an interview with Rep. Jordan.”

But according to the DCNF,  the inquires from Perkins Coie partner Markus Funk were sent to the inactive email address [email protected]

“The same law firm that can find an ex-British spy to put together a dossier to go after President Trump can’t find a congressman’s email address? Can’t get ahold of me?” Jordan asked Bret Baier rhetorically. “And then they tell the press, ‘we reached out to him and he didn’t respond.’ That is just completely bogus,” he added.

Perkins Coie, you may recall, has was hired by the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign to funnel money to Fusion GPS. FEC filings show that the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid Perkins Coie a combined $12.4 million in 2016. Marc Elias, general counsel to Hillary for America and a partner at Perkins Coie, retained Fusion GPS in April 2016 to dig up dirt on President Trump. A political group tied to the former president — Obama for America (OFA) — paid nearly a million dollars to the same law firm.

Perkins Coie also retained CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity outfit, to look into the DNC’s servers after they had been hacked in 2016.

So far, Perkins Coie has interviewed more than 150 former OSU students and witnesses, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

“The timing is suspect,” Jordan told Baier. “When you think about how this whole story came together after the Rosenstein interview — hearing …”

On June 28, Jordan accused Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of lying and “hiding information” during a heated House Judiciary Committee hearing over the Department of Justice’s lack of transparency.

He also asked the Deputy AG if he had threatened staffers on the House Intelligence Committee as media reports had claimed. “Having the nation’s number one law enforcement officer threaten to subpoena your calls and emails is downright chilling,” Jordan said. Rosenstein denied it all and whined that Jordan’s line of questioning “felt personal.”

A week later, the Ohio State wrestling scandal blew up, prompting some to wonder if Jordan is the victim of a deep state smear campaign.

Jordan told Fox News that he was encouraged by the large number of former students and colleagues who are standing behind him, but professed bitter disappointment toward the individuals who were making allegations against him.

“I know they know what they’re saying is not true,” he lamented. The congressman explained that he has been on an emotional roller coaster in the past week with his son getting married last weekend and the Ohio State wrestling scandal unfolding. And now, worst of all, his nephew — a student who wrestled at Wisconsin State — died in a car accident Thursday night.

“All kinds of Americans have to deal with tough things — but this is wrong. This is just wrong,” Jordan concluded dolefully.