Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) is in contact with lawyers probing alleged sexual abuse at Ohio State University three decades ago, as another former wrestler came forward to say Jordan knew about the problem.
Former Ohio State University wrestler Shawn Dailey told NBC News on Thursday that he was groped half a dozen times by team doctor Richard Strauss. Dailey said he did not report the incidents to Jordan, the assistant wrestling coach at the time, but he said Jordan participated in conversations about Strauss’s alleged misconduct.
Jordan has denied seeing, knowing or hearing about any abuse. The six-term congressman was ensnared in controversy earlier this week as three former Ohio State wrestlers alleged sexual misconduct by Strauss and said he knew.
Dailey described Jordan as a close friend and called his denials “kind of hurtful.”
“What happened drove me out of the sport,” Dailey told NBC. “So I was surprised to hear Jim say that he knew nothing about it.”
Attempts to reach Dailey were not successful. Jordan spokesman Ian Fury repeated a previous denial when asked about his accusation.
“Congressman Jordan never saw any abuse, never heard about any abuse, and never had any abuse reported to him during his time as a coach at Ohio State. He will assist the investigation in any way they ask, because if what is alleged is true, the victims deserve a full investigation and justice,” Fury wrote in an email.
The controversy comes as Jordan, an influential House conservative, is under pressure to mount a campaign to replace House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who is not running for reelection.
President Trump gave Jordan a full-throated endorsement Thursday while on Air Force One en route to Montana.
“I don’t believe them at all,” Trump said of the former wrestlers. “I believe him. Jim Jordan is one of the most outstanding people I’ve met since I’ve been in Washington. I believe him 100 percent. No question in my mind. I believe Jim Jordan 100 percent. He’s an outstanding man.”
Jordan’s office said that while he is in touch with lawyers conducting the investigation into Strauss’s behavior, no interview has been scheduled.
The law firm Perkins Coie was hired to probe Strauss’s behavior at the school, where he joined the clinical faculty in 1978. The investigation is being overseen by Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, which was appointed by the Ohio attorney general’s office.
In an interview Thursday with Fox News, Jordan criticized Perkins Coie, which represented the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election. The firm hired Fusion GPS, the company that produced the now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump’s connections to Russia using research from Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer.
Lawyers in the investigation had previously tried to schedule an interview with Jordan, Porter Wright partner Kathleen Trafford said Tuesday. Jordan told Fox that the requests never reached him, calling claims he failed to reply “ridiculous.”
“The same law firm that could find an ex British spy write a dossier to influence the presidential election, can’t find a Congressman’s email address?” Jordan said, according to a tweet from Fox News reporter Chad Pergram.
Jordan also questioned the timing of the controversy, noting that it came after he had tangled publicly with Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein during a hearing and “right when there is all this talk about Speaker’s race.”
Correction: Due to a mix-up with Jordan’s office, an earlier version of this story stated that Jordan had scheduled an interview with investigators affiliated with Ohio State. No interview has yet been scheduled.