Rep. Jim Jordan denies knowledge of Ohio State abuse claims: 'I would have done something'

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) arrives for a Republican conference meeting June 7, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Caption
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) arrives for a Republican conference meeting June 7, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. Jim Jordan said he "would have done something" had he known about alleged sexual abuse of wrestlers during his time as an Ohio State University assistant wrestling coach, he told Politico in an interview Tuesday night.

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Jordan, R-Ohio, continued to deny knowledge of the alleged sex abuse at an event Wednesday in Fremont, calling the allegations “flat-out not true.”

"It's not true," Jordan told Politico. "I never knew about any type of abuse. If I did, I would have done something about it. And look, if there are people who are abused, then that's terrible and we want justice to happen."

Explore>> Congressman Jim Jordan accused of knowing about sex abuse at Ohio State, not reporting it

“We’ve got the truth on our side,” Jordan said.

Jordan, 54, declined an interview Tuesday with the Dayton Daily News.

On that day, former athletes who wrestled for Jordan when he served as an assistant coach at Ohio State said he knew team doctor Richard Strauss sexually abused athletes but Jordan failed to report it. NBC News first reported the story.

Jordan's spokesman, Ian Fury, said Jordan had not been contacted by investigators and pledged to assist them. But after reporters with the Dayton Daily News contacted the university, Ohio State announced Tuesday that investigators had reached out to Jordan's office by email and telephone to request an interview with him.

“To date, Rep. Jordan has not responded to these requests, but we understand from public statements issued on his behalf today that Rep. Jordan is willing to talk to the investigative team,” said Kathleen Trafford, an attorney representing Ohio State in its investigation of Strauss.

Ohio State in April announced it was investigating accusations against Dr. Richard Strauss, who treated athletes and students as a team doctor in the athletics program and a physician at the student health services center between 1978 and 1996. Jordan worked as an assistant wrestling coach for part of that time. Strauss, who retired as a professor emeritus July 1, 1998, died in California in 2005.

“I did know Dr. Strauss, he was there when we got to Ohio State,” Jordan said Wednesday. “Yeah, I knew the doctor. But there was no truth to the fact that I knew of any abuse … it’s just not accurate to say those things, that we knew about it and didn’t report it; it’s just not true.”