Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, on Friday again denied allegations he ignored reports of sexual abuse while he coached The Ohio State University’s wrestling team.
“I never saw, never heard of, never was told about any type of abuse. If I had been, I would have dealt with it,” Jordan said, adding that “if there are victims, they deserve justice.”
Jordan also pushed back against at least one of his accusers in the Fox News interview Friday evening, saying that former wrestler Mike DiSabato held a “vendetta” against the university and his family and has “all kinds of lawsuits against him.”
Multiple former wrestlers who attended the university have accused the U.S. representative of turning a blind eye to allegations of sexual abuse from the team’s doctor, Richard Strauss, when he was the assistant wrestling coach from 1986 to 1994. Strauss died in 2005.
Two former wrestlers told The Associated Press that Jordan had knowledge of the allegations. Two other wrestlers have also told NBC and the Wall Street Journal, respectively, that Jordan knew of the alleged abuse.
After listening to a television clip of DiSabato saying Jordan and others discussed Strauss’ sexual misconduct on a “regular basis” through “locker room banter,” Jordan responded that “conversations in a locker room are a lot different than allegations of abuse, or reported abuse.”
Jordan also denied that he had ever heard such locker room conversations during his tenure coaching at the university.
“What bothers me the most is the guys that are saying this thing, I know they know the truth,” Jordan said.
Asked about why the wrestlers would come forward with allegations that are untrue, Jordan said the the timing of the news reports was also suspicious.
“The timing is suspect, from when you think about how this whole story came together after the Rosenstein interview or hearing, with this whole talk about the speaker’s race.”
Jordan, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, has been among the most outspoken critics of federal law enforcement agencies’ handling of the Russia investigation, and of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein‘s role overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller, who is the head investigator in the ongoing probe.
Last week, Jordan and Rosenstein shared a heated exchange when Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the judiciary committee in a hearing.
“I don’t believe them at all,” Trump said of Jordan’s accusers. “Jim Jordan is one of the most outstanding people I’ve met since I’ve been in Washington and I believe him 100 percent,” Trump said, adding there was “no question in mind.”