GOP Rewards Jim Jordan for Trump Defense, Despite Accusations That Jordan Ignored Sexual Abuse

U.S. Congressman Jim Jordan speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo by Gage Skidmore

During an Ohio Statehouse hearing Tuesday, Rep. Jim Jordan was accused yet again of knowing about the sexual harassment and abuse of Ohio State University wrestlers ​by a team doctor—and doing nothing​ about it—when  Jordan was an assistant coach there from 1986 to 1994. The accusation comes a day after House Republicans unanimously approved Jordan, who aggressively defended President Donald Trump during the House impeachment hearing, to be the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee.

The Ohio Statehouse held a hearing Tuesday on a bill that would waive the statute of limitations ​on sexual abuse allegations and allow  victims of Richard Strauss​, the late team physician, to sue the university. More than 350 former athletes accuse the doctor, who died by suicide in 2005, of sexual misconduct. In 2018, former wrestler Michael DiSabato was among the first to come forward, and helped spur numerous investigations. 

Adam DiSabato, the brother of the Michael DiSabato and former Ohio State wrestling team captain in the late 80s and early 90s, testified at the hearing that Jordan and others knew about the sexual harassment and abuse by Strauss and others, reported.

“I went to Russ Hellickson [former head coach]. I went to Jim Jordan. I went to them as a captain, begging them to do something. They did nothing. They told me they went to their superiors. Their superiors told them to be happy where we’re at, to keep our mouths shut,” Adam DiSabato said.

“Jim Jordan called me crying, crying, groveling, on the Fourth of July, begging me to go against my brother, begging me, crying for half hour,” Adam DiSabato said. “That’s the kind of cover-ups that’s going on there.”

Jordan has denied knowledge of the harassment or abuse, saying in 2018, “We knew of no abuse. Never heard of abuse. If we had, we would have reported it.” 

State Rep. Jeffrey Crossman (D- Parma) asked Adam DiSabato how he reconciles Jordan’s statements denying any knowledge of abuse and his claims he was vindicated by the report that was done. 

“He’s a liar,” Adam DiSabato interjected. “Calling me crying.”

“He’s throwing us under the bus, all of us. He’s a coward. He’s a coward. He’s not a leader. He’s a coward,” Adam DiSabato said. 

“I was captain of these guys. That’s why I’m here, I would never abandon my team. He abandoned us. Our head coach abandoned us. He’s flipped his story. He called other people to flip their story,” Adam DiSabato said, adding that Jordan and Hellickson even tried to pressure the 90-year-old parents of one former wrestler to change their story. “That’s the kind of person Jim Jordan is. OK? Jim Jordan, if I ever see him, he better not come around me. I guarantee you that.”

Rep. Tavia Galonski (D- Akron) has unsuccessfully sought to subpoena Jordan and others to testify at the hearings.

​The allegations ​have not stopped GOP leadership from ​rewarding Jordan ​for his attack-dog performance in impeachment hearings before the House Intelligence Committee. A day after an Ohio State referee accused Jordan of ignoring his complaints, Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tapped Jordan to  pinch-hit for Arkansas Rep. Rick Crawford on the Intelligence Committee during ​the hearings. “Trump and his allies wanted Jordan on the panel because they consider him to be one of their most effective members at combatting Democrats,”  Politico reported.

As Right Wing Watch has reported, Jordan ​is prone to peddling in conspiracy theories and is a favorite among right-wing activists, including the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios, the Eagle Forum’s Eunie Smith, anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, and Ed Martin, president of Phyllis Schlafly Eagles.

During impeachment, Jordan tried to paint the witnesses’ testimonies as hearsay and loudly attacked the whistleblower​ whose complaint about Trump’s July 24 conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky prompted the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry.

Jordan’s aggressive performance earned him praise among GOP leadership. “Jordan has done an excellent job,” McCarthy said in his press conference this week, Politico reported.

The day after the Senate’s acquittal ​of the president in the impeachment trial, Trumpin a celebratory, stream-of-consciousness speechrecognized Republicans who had defended him​, taking time to praise Jordan as “some warrior.”

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