Referee files lawsuit, claims Rep. Jim Jordan ignored abuse allegations against Ohio State doctor

When the referee told Rep. Jim Jordan that the team doctor masturbated in front of him, Jordan allegedly brushed him off. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

A referee filed a lawsuit on Thursday accusing disgraced former Ohio State doctor Richard Strauss of masturbating in front of him in a shower after a wrestling match in 1994, and claimed that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) just shrugged it off when he told him about the incident, according to NBC News.

The referee, who filed the lawsuit in federal court as “John Doe 42,” said he told then-head coach Russ Hellickson and Jordan — who was an assistant coach — about the incident. 

“Yeah, that’s Strauss,” they told him at the time, via NBC News, adding “yeah, yeah, we know.”

“John Doe 42” is the second person to say that he told Jordan about Strauss’ abuse. Former Ohio State wrestler Dunyasha Yetts, per the report, told Jordan about an incident when he went to see Strauss about a thumb injury and Strauss tried to pull down his pants. 

Jordan, who was a coach at Ohio State from 1986-94, has denied knowing anything about Strauss’ behavior. According to NBC News, Jordan — who has been a very vocal defender of President Donald Trump amid the ongoing impeachment inquiry — claimed the allegations against him were politically motivated.

“It was common knowledge what Strauss was doing, so the attitude was, ‘It is what it is,” John Doe 42 said, via NBC News. “I was Jim, and Russ, too, would stand up and do the right thing and admit they knew what Strauss was doing, because everybody knew what he was doing to the wrestlers. 

“What was a shock to me is that Strauss tried to do that to me. He was breaking new ground by going after a ref.”

The “John Doe 42” lawsuit is one of several that are pending regarding the abuse.

An independent investigation released earlier this year found that Strauss abused at least 177 men in 16 sports between 1979-1997 at Ohio State, and that school officials knew of the abuse and failed to investigate or stop him. Strauss has been accused of groping, fondling, performing unnecessary and prolonged genital and rectal examinations, performing unwanted oral sex, requiring unnecessary nudity during examinations, making inappropriate comments toward athletes and more.

Strauss retired from Ohio State in 1998, and committed suicide in 2005.

“[Ohio State] has led the effort to investigate and expose the misdeeds of Richard Strauss and the systemic failures to respond, and the university is  committed to a fair resolution,” an Ohio State spokesman told NBC News on Thursday. “The university is actively participating in good faith in the mediation process directed by the federal court. In addition, since February, Ohio State has been covering the cost  of professionally certified counseling services and treatment for anyone affected, as well as reimbursing costs for counseling already received.”

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