The Daily Show on GOP Rep. Jim Jordan's "locker room talk" excuse

Trevor Noah and the Daily Show weigh in on GOP Rep. Jim Jordan's "locker room talk" excuse for not reporting the ongoing sexual abuse of the Ohio State students under his charge. The segment includes a devastating faux commercial that Noah made for Jim Jordan's candidacy, comparing him to former House speaker, and confessed pedophile, Denny Hastert. It's a must-watch.

Here's the Daily Show's video:

John Aravosis
GOP Rep Jim Jordan accused of pressuring OSU sexual assault victims to recant

NBC News reports that GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, who is running for House speaker, and is mired in a growing sexual abuse scandal dating to his days as a wrestling coach at Ohio State University, is now accused of trying to pressure victims to recant their testimony, lest it damage Jordan's political career.

Russ Hellickson was head wrestling coach, and Jordan's boss, at OSU during the period that a number of former students claim they were sexually molested by the university's sports medicine doctor at the time, Richard Strauss. Several former students claim they told Jordan and other administrators about the abuse, and that nothing was done. Other former students say that abuse was so widespread, and so well known, that it's impossible for Jordan not to have known.

Now, two former team members who publicly criticized Jordan's handling of the affair claim that Jordan tried to pressure them to recant their criticism. Specifically, the two former students were contacted by Hellickson, who later told them, they claim, that Jordan had pressured him to intervene with the accusers.

This is tantamount to witness tampering. Ohio State is conducting an investigation trying to determine how many students were abused during the doctor's nearly 20-year employment at the school. The investigation surely will be looking at who knew what, when. And that means they'll be looking at Jordan's role as well.

If Jordan is pressuring witnesses, via intermediaries, to change their stories, that's a serious accusation. And it calls into question just what Jordan is trying to hide.

 

John Aravosis
New lawsuit contradicts Jim Jordan's claim that no one knew of serial sexual abuse at OSU

A new, third, lawsuit filed against Ohio State University by former students who say they were abused by a doctor at the school, contradicts GOP Rep. Jim Jordan's categorical claim that no one at Ohio State, including himself, ever knew about the ongoing abuse.

The federal lawsuit, filed by ten former students, says that the university was notified that Dr. Richard Strauss was abusing students all the way back to Strauss' first year on the job in the late 1970s. Strauss worked at OSU for nearly twenty years. From the lawsuit:

OSU learned about Dr. Strauss’s inappropriate sexual conduct as early as his first year of employment there. When an attending physician at Student Health Services asked a wrestling team captain why he came to Student Health Services instead of seeing Dr.  Strauss, the wrestler explained that Dr. Strauss had examined his genitals for 20 minutes and appeared to be trying to get him excited.

The lawsuit goes on to allege that sports team members were required to see Dr. Strauss at least once a year, and that when they claimed about him molesting them, their coach threatened them in response.

The suit tells the story of then-student Steve Snyder-Hill, who says he filed a complaint about Dr. Strauss with the university in 1995, and OSU basically blew him off, telling him that no other students had complained about Strauss' exams. We now know this to be untrue, and not only from this lawsuit. Two former wrestlers say then-coach Jim Jordan was informed of the abuse; and Jordan's boss at the time, and another school administrator, were both informed of the abuse years ago. Jordan's boss even admitted on tape that he was informed of the abuse.

Yet, Jordan claimed recently, and unequivocally, that no one at the university was ever aware of the abuse.

Why would Jordan claim this -- and claim it so strongly -- when it's not true, and when there was no way Jordan could knew if it were true. What if a coach or administrator were aware of the abuse and didn't come forward -- how would Jordan know whether they were hiding something? Surely, Jordan must have contemplated the possibility that someone at the school secretly knew about the abuse. Then why would Jordan claim publicly that no one knew? Unless Jordan wanted to mislead the public about the scandal. But what would be his motivation to do so?

The new lawsuit raises another alarming fact. Dr. Strauss was not simply Ohio State's sports doctor. He also attended to students at the student health clinic. Ohio State has over 40,000 students per year. Over a twenty-year period, that's 200,000 students. If only a fraction of them went to student health services in their four years, or so, at the school, that could still mean quite a large number saw, and were victimized by, Dr. Strauss. Any inaction by coaches or school administrators permitted the molestation to continue unabated.

This new lawsuit also alleges that a track and field coach, and a tennis coach, at Ohio State were also informed of the abuse, but did nothing. Again, proving that Jim Jordan lied when he claimed no one at the school knew.

What could possibly motivate Jim Jordan to lie?

John Aravosis
Slate: Jordan lied when he said no OSU coaches or administrators knew of ongoing sexual abuse

William Saletan at Slate reports that GOP Rep Jim Jordan appears to have lied when he recently claimed, quite unequivocally, that no coaches or administrators at Ohio State University ever knew about the ongoing sexual molestation of students by the school's sports doctor Richard Strauss.

Jordan left no room for doubt, per Slate:

On July 18, Jordan told Bob Frantz, a radio host in Ohio, that “all kinds of coaches … have said the same thing I’ve said, and the reason they’ve said that is because it’s the truth: No one reported anything to us.” The next day, on Fox News, Jordan added: “I knew of no abuse, never heard of it, never had any reported to me. If I had, I’d have dealt with it. Every single coach has said the same thing I have. … And the reason they have all said it is because it’s the truth.” On Friday, Jordan told WMAL radio in Washington that “all the coaches I coached with” were innocent. That same day, on Fox and Friends, Jordan issued a comprehensive denial:

This is something that supposedly happened 30 years ago. If there in fact was abuse, then we want people to get justice, and the truth to come out. But there were hundreds of coaches, hundreds of administrators in that time period. No one ever reported any. Certainly no one reported it to me.

But as Slate reports, at least one coach and one administrator did know -- they've even now admitted that they knew:

[Jordan's then-boss, head coach Russ] Hellickson has been recorded on video saying that the team doctor, Richard Strauss, was too “hands on” with student wrestlers, that Strauss made the students “nervous” by showering with them for an hour at a time, and that Hellickson told OSU administrators about the problem. Three weeks ago, Hellickson told USA Today that he had warned Strauss to stop touching students excessively during weigh-ins. Politico reports that according to witnesses, shower voyeurism of the athletes became so invasive that Hellickson had to “physically drag the gawkers out of the building.” According to the article, Hellickson “pleaded with the university multiple times to move their athletes to a private facility.”

Andy Geiger, who was OSU’s athletic director at the time, confirms that Hellickson complained about voyeurism in the showers. Geiger told the Washington Post that to solve the problem, he worked with Hellickson to move the wrestlers out of the building. Geiger says that the students felt “uncomfortable” and that he had sought to make sure they would “be left alone and feel secure and not harassed or observed or approached.”

So Jordan is either woefully unaware of the facts in this case -- yet still issuing unequivocal denials on behalf of every coach and every administration at Ohio State -- or Jordan is lying. Either way, it doesn't look good.

John Aravosis
Jordan set to announce bid for House speakership as teen sexual abuse scandal allegations mount

Only in the Republican party would you seriously consider a new Speaker who is accused of tacitly aiding and abetting the sexual assault of perhaps thousands of college-age boys.

GOP Rep. Jim Jordan is announcing today his bid to become the next Speaker of the US House, which raises uncomfortable parallels to the other Republican House Speaker who had a boy-sex problem involving wrestlers problem, Denny Hastert.

Jordan, now a conservative family-values Republican from Ohio, was the assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University from 1987 to 1995. During his tenure, the team doctor, Richard Strauss, is accused of having molested up to 1,500 college boys. At least 11 of Jordan's former wrestlers say that the sexual abuse was so prevalent, Jordan must have known about it. And two of the wrestlers say they specifically told Jordan about the molestation, and Jordan did nothing to help. One says Jordan actually "snickered" when told of the abuse, before saying he'd have nothing to do with it.

The doctor also reportedly took pictures of his teenage victims, while measuring their scrotums.

Jordan calls his accusers liars, and says the entire scandal is the work of a deep-state working to torpedo his race for the speakership. No word from Jordan on how the deep state was able to go back in time 40 years and molest 1,500 boys all in the hopes of harming Jordan's political career in 2018.

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Jordan is a co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, a far-right conservative group created because the Republican Study Group, which included then Cong. Mike Pence, wasn't conservative enough in their eyes. The House Freedom Caucus claims to be devoted to defending morality and America's national security, but in fact the organization has become little more than a protection racket for corrupt politicians, including their support for credibly-accused child molester Roy Moore, their ongoing efforts to undermine the Mueller probe of Russia's ongoing attack on our elections, and their recent defense of Jim Jordan in the face of growing accusations of ignoring the burgeoning scandal at Ohio State.

The investigation at Ohio State is ongoing, and the university has already identified over 100 victims. No one knows what the final investigation will find, in terms of total numbers of victims, but also about Jim Jordan's role in covering up the abuse. The local paper has called for Jim Jordan to come clean about what he knows, to no avail. It would be the height of folly for Republicans in Congress to risk having a new Speaker brought down by a teen sex scandal, but these are the times we live in.

 

John Aravosis
Jim Jordan says 150+ sexual assault victims "choreographed" their abuse decades ago, all to hurt him today

The victims in the Ohio State sexual assault scandal now number over 150, per the latest reporting by the NYT. Yet, GOP Rep. Jim Jordan is doubling down in a new interview, claiming that the accusations are all "choreographed" by "the left" to hurt his political career.

jim jordan ohio state sexual abuse scandal

How exactly do you choreograph 150 victims of sexual assault?

That's a lot of crisis-actors to drum up, let alone coordinate. Jordan is alleging that the mysterious "left" has involved over 150 people in some grand conspiracy to harm his run for the speakership, and to stop him from undermining the Mueller investigation, and not one of those 150 people spilled the beans when interviewed by the police?

I'm still scratching my head on how all this works. Does Jordan think Democrats somehow got Dr. Strauss to molest 150+ college boys over the past 40 years, all in preparation for Jim Jordan's race for the speakership in late 2018? That's impressive prescience.

Maybe - just bear with me here - but maybe, rather than 150 victims of abuse over a 20 year period being part of some elaborate conspiracy to indict a man who nobody even knew would be a congressman some day - just maybe, instead, the 150+ victims are telling the truth.

John Aravosis
OSU doc, who worked with Jim Jordan, took photos of his victims, measured their scrotums, during unnecessary genital exams

A new class action lawsuit alleges that accused serial sexual molester, Dr. Richard Strauss, the sports doctor at Ohio State University while GOP Rep. Jim Jordan coached wrestling at the school, used to photograph students while giving them unnecessary genital exams.

The complaint also alleges that Strauss used to "regularly measure" one victim's scrotum.

Strauss is accused of sexually abusing up to 1,500 Ohio State University students over a twenty-year period, and Jordan is accused by eleven of those students of knowing about the ongoing abuse of his wrestlers and doing little to stop it.

While a number of complainants have stepped forward, this is the first we've heard of Strauss photographing his victims. From the court filing:

While attending OSU as a wrestler in the 1980s, Plaintiff was forced to repeatedly seek medical treatment from Strauss because he was the wrestling team’s doctor. Strauss used this position of trust and authority to sexually abuse Plaintiff on multiple occasions, by engaging in acts that include, but are not limited to: sexual harassment and inappropriate touching during examinations, including regularly touching Plaintiff’s genitals and breast areas, often at the same time, regularly measuring Plaintiff’s scrotum, and taking photographs of Plaintiff.

Jordan, who to date has claimed that the eleven accusers are lying, is a founding member of the US House Freedom Caucus, a grouping of the most conservative family-values anti-gay members of the US House. The Freedom Caucus, along with US House Speaker Paul Ryan, have thrown their full support behind Jordan in this scandal.

John Aravosis
GOP Rep Jim Jordan sued for failing to prevent sexual abuse at Ohio State

Embattled Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) has been named as a defendant in a class action lawsuit filed by former Ohio State athletes who say they were sexually abused by the school's sports doctor, Richard Strauss. over a twenty-year period.

Jordan was assistant wrestling coach at OSU for eight of those years, overlapping with Strauss' tenure for all of that time. Eleven of Jordan's former wrestlers say that they can't imagine how Jordan didn't know about the serial sexual abuse of his wrestlers, who spoke about it openly; and two of Jordan's former students claim they told Jordan about the abuse, and he did nothing. Jordan continues to claim he was unaware.

More from Rolling Stone:

On Tuesday, Jordan’s public-relations crisis became a legal nightmare. Attorneys filed a massive class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Ohio on behalf of an as-yet-unnamed former OSU wrestler. The law firm Sauder Schelkopf is seeking to represent all the students and athletes “treated” by Strauss in his two decades at the school, from the late ‘70s to the late ‘90s – a number they estimate will amount to “at least 1,500.”

Jordan, the jut-jawed anti-gay crusader who’s the fourth-ranking Republican leader in the House, is singled out in the suit: He’s one of only three former school officials named, including Strauss, though the action is aimed at all the coaches, administrators and others in positions of responsibility at OSU who, it claims, stood by while students and student-athletes were repeatedly “sexually abused, harassed, and molested,” and “forced” to seek treatment from a well-known predator even after they complained. (Strauss was the sole team doctor for the wrestlers; the men say they either had to choose to let injuries go untreated, as the lawsuit says some did, or subject themselves to yet another assault.)

John Aravosis
Facing growing accusations of having enabled sexual assault, GOP Rep Jim Jordan to keynote Maryland GOP dinner on July 17

Democrats are crying foul, as the Republican party of Maryland plans to host embattled GOP Rep. Jim Jordan at a Lincoln Day dinner in only a matter of days, July 17.

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The Maryland Democratic party was quick to call out the GOP for hosting Jordan in the middle of a sexual abuse scandal where the Ohio congressman is facing growing accusations that he tacitly abetted the molestation of college wrestlers under his purview as then- assistant coach.:

Today we are calling on Larry Hogan and Maryland Republicans to disinvite Jim Jordan from a high-dollar fundraiser they are hosting next week. Eight survivors have now accused Jim Jordan of turning a blind eye to their abuse, but apparently that doesn’t bother Larry Hogan. Hogan needs to make clear that there is zero tolerance for anyone who turns a blind eye to the abuse of children.

Jordan keynoted an earlier Lincoln Day dinner this year in Colorado, which means this is something he does. And now, those dinners are surely to become a point of contention in local politics nationwide.

The Prince George's County (Maryland) Republican party can be reached on Twitter here: @pggop

John Aravosis
Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial board excoriates Jim Jordan over Ohio State scandal

The editorial board of the Cleveland Plain Dealer blasted GOP Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH-4) this morning, writing that Jordan denying having any knowledge of the Ohio State sexual abuse scandal "doesn't pass the sniff test." 

From the Plain Dealer:

[T]he issue, to paraphrase what Tennessee Republican Sen. Howard Baker asked during Watergate, is this: "What - if anything - did Jim Jordan know about Strauss' misconduct? And when did Jim Jordan know it?"

And there, Jordan's staunch insistence that he never saw, heard or suspected anything as an assistant OSU wrestling coach from 1987 to 1995 just doesn't pass the sniff test. 

The paper also hit Jordan on his "locker room talk" defense:

Yet, as quoted by Eaton, here's what Jordan told FoxNews when asked whether he knew about Strauss' alleged misconduct with Ohio State wrestlers: "Conversations in the locker room are a lot different than people coming up and talking about abuse. No one ever reported any abuse to me."

That is, if no one said the words "I was sexually abused" out loud, despite any other evidence to the contrary, it did not happen?

With all due respect to Jordan, there's a slang word Ohioans use to describe such fine-line distinctions: "Weaseling."

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The fact that a prominent local paper is weighing in against Jordan doesn't help his chances at making this story go away any time soon. But it also puts Jordan in a bind. The congressman was too definitive in dismissing the accusations of now-11 men who were his former wrestlers. Jordan said categorically that he had heard nothing to suggest there was a problem. That leaves him no wiggle room, while the number of accusers is nearly-guaranteed to increase over time. At some point, Jordan is going to have to change his story. And it's likely to be too late by then for anyone to believe him.

John Aravosis