Top Republican dismisses Jim Jordan ignoring sex abuse as 'rumors'


Rep. Jim Jordan, the man who wants to be the next speaker of the House, is in the middle of a serious sex abuse scandal — and Republicans keep trying to shrug it off.

Republican leaders are standing by scandal-plagued Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), as he faces mounting questions about the sprawling Ohio State University sex abuse scandal.

Fellow Ohioan Rep. Steve Stivers, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, downplayed the controversy by insisting continued GOP support for Jordan wouldn't be diminished by "rumors" and "anecdotal evidence."

Stivers also wouldn't say if Jordan should resign if the allegations against him are proven to be true.

"Let's let the investigation happen and the facts come out and then we'll deal with what the facts are, as opposed to rumors," Stivers told CNBC's John Harwood.

But the OSU scandal isn't built on "rumors." To date, more than 100 former students have alleged that they were abused while at the school.

The scandal surrounds Richard Strauss who worked at the university as a team physician for two decades and is accused of preying on student athletes during physical examinations. He killed himself in 2005.

Jordan worked as an OSU assistant wrestling coach from 1986 to 1994. He has been accused by former wrestlers of turning a blind eye to Strauss' abuse.

"Three separate lawsuits have been filed against the university alleging that it knew of the doctor's misconduct and did nothing to stop it," according to the New York Times.

Meanwhile, two full-scale investigations into the scandal are underway.

Last week, the Department of Education announced that its Office for Civil Rights had launched an investigation into how university employees, such as Jordan, dealt with the abusive doctor.

"This new Title IX investigation will examine the University's handling of reports of sex-based incidents involving Dr. Strauss, including allegations that University employees knew or should have known about the sexual misconduct and allowed the abuse to continue," the department announced.

Back in April, OSU hired an outside law firm to conduct a extensive investigation into the charges surrounding Strauss. That inquiry remains ongoing.

Jordan, a fierce Trump loyalist, has insisted he didn't hear any locker room complaints about the doctor.

He has tried to dismiss the many allegations against him as "fake news" and suggested that the former OSU wrestlers are part of a larger political scheme to sink Jordan's congressional career. (Jordan's currently running to be the next GOP speaker of the House.)

Indeed, Jordan and his far-right political allies have claimed that there's a "‘deep state" plot to get the congressman, and that his former wrestlers are part of a nefarious smear campaign.

OSU wrestlers tell a different story.

“I considered Jim Jordan a friend,” said Mike DiSabato, a former wrestler who says he was abused. "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, Shawn Dailey, told NBC News that he was groped “half a dozen times” by the team doctor during the time when Jordan was the assistant wrestling coach.

Last month, Ohio’s largest newspaper, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, published a scathing editorial that poked holes in Jordan’s defense about his time at OSU.

"Jim Jordan needs to do a gut check and reconsider his denials," the editorial read.

The same goes for the GOP.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.