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
Lead Jordan defender changes story

Russ Hellickson, the former head wrestling coach at Ohio State, while Representative Jim Jordan worked there as assistant wrestling coach, released a letter on Monday defending Jordan from charges that he knew about the ongoing sexual abuse of his wrestlers and did nothing about it. As part of his defense of Jordan, Hellickson claimed that no one had heard of any abuse at that time, including Hellickson himself.

But as NBC reports, Hellickson appears to contradict himself in a recent video, in which Hellickson describes the toxic sexual atmosphere in the wrestling locker room at Ohio State. In the video, Hellickson says things were so bad that he confronted the team doctor, Richard Strauss, who several athletes now charge with having sexually molested them during medical exams. He specifically complained to Strauss about being "too hands on" with the boys during exams, and about Strauss' penchant for spending an hour in the shower at the same time the wrestlers showered. 

If Hellickson had no idea there was a problem with Strauss, then why did he confront the doctor and tell him to cut it out? As the video shows, Hellickson knew exactly what the problem was.

In other words, the Monday letter defending Jordan is sham. And if Hellickson was so concerned about the situation at the time, then Jordan's claims of ignorance grow even less credible.

John Aravosis
Pelosi: 'Jim Jordan had a duty to protect' Ohio State wrestlers

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi weighed in today on the Jim Jordan sexual abuse scandal, which is sure to get Republicans seething, and that's probably Pelosi's plan. Anything that helps create a story around this scandal helps Democrats and hurts Republicans. And Pelosi weighing in certainly creates a story, and it goads Republicans into responding, which furthers the story even more.

From CNN:

Jim Jordan had a duty to protect them," she said in her first comments about the scandal. "They said he failed. They, the people who are accusing, said he failed. Rather than deny and dismiss them, he should fully cooperate with the investigation."
....
"He is someone who has always said about everybody, 'Oh, my gosh, look at his record, so and so should have known this, so and so should have known that.' Well, many people say he did know and by his own standard, he should have known."

John Aravosis
NYT: GOP embraces Jordan at their own peril

A new editorial in the NYT:

As a powerful congressman in his mid-50s, Mr. Jordan has repeatedly failed to stand up to a president whose morally sketchy behavior he witnesses on a daily basis. Can anyone really discount, with 100 percent certainty, the possibility that a 20-something Jim Jordan might have heard but chosen not to pursue horrifying rumors, or even specific allegations, that could have engulfed his entire university in scandal?

Knee-jerk, belligerent, circle-the-wagons, we’re-the-real-victims-here defiance has become the default attitude in Donald Trump’s Republican Party. It may in fact have become the party’s defining characteristic.

But while it plays well with angry, resentful elements of the Republican base, it’s unlikely to prove an enduringly popular message for the broader electorate. Roy Moore showed as much when he handed Democrats a Senate seat in blood-red Alabama. Lawmakers continue down this path at their own peril.

John Aravosis