An­other says Jor­dan ig­nored abuse

7th wrestler ac­cuses con­gress­man of turn­ing blind eye to mis­con­duct

The Washington Post Sunday - - POLITICS & THE NATION - BY ELISE VIEBECK AND ALICE CRITES elise.viebeck@wash­post.com alice.crites@wash­post.com

A sev­enth for­mer Ohio State Univer­sity wrestler said Sat­ur­day that he be­lieves Rep. Jim Jor­dan (R-Ohio) knew about in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­ior that al­legedly took place in the school’s ath­letic depart­ment three decades ago, as two more for­mer team mem­bers came to Jor­dan’s de­fense.

David Range, who wres­tled for Ohio State in the late 1980s, said Jor­dan had to have known about al­leged sex­ual mis­con­duct by Richard Strauss, an ath­letic doc­tor whose be­hav­ior is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the school, be­cause it hap­pened reg­u­larly to team mem­bers and peo­ple talked about it. Jor­dan has de­nied he knew, saw or heard about any in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­ior while he was an as­sis­tant wrestling coach from 1987 to 1995.

“Jor­dan def­i­nitely knew that these things were hap­pen­ing — yes, most def­i­nitely,” Range told The Wash­ing­ton Post. “It was there. He knew about it be­cause it was an ev­ery­day oc­cur­rence.”

Range said he never dis­cussed the is­sue di­rectly with Jor­dan one on one and did not know whether any­one made a for­mal re­port, but he said Jor­dan was present dur­ing group con­ver­sa­tions in the locker room about Strauss’s be­hav­ior.

“We talked about it all the time in the locker room” while Jor­dan was there, he said. “Every­body joked about it and talked about it all the time.”

Range said Strauss, who has been ac­cused of abus­ing ath­letes in more than a dozen sports dur­ing his time as an ath­letic doc­tor, touched wrestlers in­ap­pro­pri­ately dur­ing ex­am­i­na­tions and ogled them in the locker room show­ers.

“He just fon­dled you a lit­tle too long while he gave you a her­nia check,” said Range, a Cleve­land res­i­dent who said he is in­volved in mixed mar­tial arts. “And then he stayed in the show­ers, like, an hour un­til ev­ery­one was done.”

Jor­dan has been un­der scru­tiny since July 3, when NBC News quoted three for­mer wrestlers say­ing he knew or must have known about in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­ior in the ath­letic depart­ment. Three oth­ers have said the same in news ac­counts since then.

The re­ports come at a del­i­cate time for Jor­dan, who has been un­der pres­sure from con­ser­va­tive po­lit­i­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions to mount a bid to re­place Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who will not run for re­elec­tion.

Sev­eral mem­bers of the Ohio State wrestling pro­gram who at­tended the school while Jor­dan was a coach there have de­fended the con­gress­man, say­ing they be­lieve his denials that he didn’t know about the al­leged abuse.

Two for­mer wrestlers told The Post on Sat­ur­day that they be­lieve Jor­dan, who charged one ac­cuser on Fri­day with hav­ing a “vendetta” against Ohio State and his fam­ily. Asked for com­ment for this story, a spokesman for Jor­dan re­ferred The Post to his in­ter­view with Fox News on Fri­day night.

“Con­ver­sa­tions in a locker room are a lot dif­fer­ent than peo­ple com­ing up and talk­ing about abuse,” Jor­dan told Fox. Asked later whether he heard wrestlers talk­ing about mis­con­duct that fell short of the com­mon def­i­ni­tion of sex­ual abuse at the time but that could be con­sid­ered abuse to­day, Jor­dan is­sued a flat de­nial, say­ing he “did not, did not” hear any­thing.

Michael Alf, who joined the team in the late 1980s, said the en­vi­ron­ment in the Ohio State locker room was “def­i­nitely dis­turb­ing,” with non-team mem­bers us­ing the show­ers to ogle the wrestlers.

“There was def­i­nitely in­ap­pro­pri­ate things that in my opin­ion were pretty dis­gust­ing go­ing on all around us. You just took your shower and got out,” he said.

Alf said that while wrestlers joked about is­sues like Strauss’s be­hav­ior, he doesn’t re­mem­ber the con­ver­sa­tions hap­pen­ing in front of Jor­dan.

“He’s the most hon­est per­son I’ve ever met,” he said of Jor­dan. “The thing is, if he saw some­thing like that, he wouldn’t have tol­er­ated it . . . . If Jimmy says he didn’t know, I be­lieve him.”

An­other for­mer wrestler, who asked for anonymity to speak can­didly about what hap­pened, said that Jor­dan was “all busi­ness” as a coach and that team mem­bers were care­ful what they said around him.

“It’s way more likely that [he] didn’t know than did know,” the for­mer wrestler said. “We were so guarded around these guys . . . . I think the only rea­son he’s be­ing dragged into it is be­cause of his po­lit­i­cal stature, and I think that’s ter­ri­ble.”

AL DRAGO/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Rep. Jim Jor­dan (R-Ohio) says he was un­aware of al­leged sex­ual abuse at Ohio State Univer­sity while he was an as­sis­tant coach.

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