Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) speaks to reporters in the Senate basement at the U.S. Capitol as the Senate impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump continues on January 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. On Thursday, Senators continue asking questions for the House impeachment managers and the president's defense team. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Former Ohio State wrestling captain claims Jim Jordan begged him to contradict sexual abuse account

Jordan reportedly walked out of a House hearing examining sexual harassment in the federal government Thursday



Igor Derysh
February 14, 2020 10:00AM (UTC)

The former captain of the Ohio State University wrestling team claimed Wednesday that Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, was aware of students being sexually abused — and accused him of a "cover-up."

"Jim Jordan called me crying — crying, groveling — on the Fourth of July, begging me to go against my brother — begging me, crying for half an hour," Adam DiSabato testified before the Ohio state legislature Wednesday. "That's the kind of cover-up that's going on there."

Advertisement:

An independent investigation conducted by the law firm Perkins Coie found that Richard Strauss, a former university doctor, sexually abused at least 177 male students over a period of 19 years. Strauss was never charged and committed suicide in 2005.

Ian Fury, a spokesperson for Jordan, accused DiSabato of lying in a statement to Cleveland.com.

"Congressman Jordan never saw or heard of any abuse, and if he had he would have dealt with it," Fury told the outlet.

Advertisement:

DiSabato was on the wrestling team in the late '80s and early '90s while Jordan was an assistant coach. His brother claimed that he directly told Jordan about the abuse in 2018.

"I considered Jim Jordan a friend," Michael DiSabato said at the time, according to NBC News. "But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn't know what was going on."

Several other wrestlers have accused Jordan of knowing about the abuse. Jordan, who was an assistant wrestling coach from 1986 to 1994, has repeatedly denied knowledge of it.

Advertisement:

After the results of the independent investigation were released, about 350 men sued the college over alleged abuse. Several of the lawsuits directly implicated Jordan, arguing that he was aware of the abuse.

Adam DiSabato's testimony came during a legislative hearing on a bill that would allow victims to sue the university for damages. He previously filed a lawsuit against the school accusing officials of ignoring the abuse. An OSU spokesman told Cleveland.com that the school is committed to "reaching a monetary solution as soon as possible."

Advertisement:

Democratic State Rep. Tavia Galonski attempted to issue a subpoena for Jordan to testify but that move was voted down. Not a single Republican asked DiSabato a follow-up question, Cleveland.com reported.

Jordan walked out of a House Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday on Capitol Hill examining sexual harassment in the federal government when a woman shared her account of abuse by federal judges, according to Courthouse News reporter Megan Mineiro.

During the hearing in Ohio, Democratic State Rep. Jeff Crossman asked DiSabato to respond to Jordan's denials. DiSabato called Jordan a "liar" and accused him of pressuring others to "flip their stories."

Advertisement:

"That's the kind of person Jim Jordan is," DiSabato said. "He's throwing us under the bus — all of us. He's a coward."


Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is a staff writer at Salon. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

Tips/Email: iderysh@salon.com Twitter: @IgorDerysh

MORE FROM Igor Derysh



Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •