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