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