WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, a former captain of the Ohio State wrestling team told state lawmakers in a public hearing that Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, pleaded with him in 2018 to deny allegations sexual abuse of male wrestlers by a team doctor was well-known within the program but was ignored.
“Jim Jordan called me crying, groveling, begging me to go against my brother, begging me, crying for a half-hour. That’s the kind of cover-up that’s going on there,” Adam DiSabato told members of the Ohio House Civil Justice Committee about a conversation the congressman and him had on July 24, 2018.
Adam DiSabato, who was a member of the school’s wrestling program in the late ’80s to early ’90s, is the brother of fellow OSU wrestling alumni Michael DiSabato, who helped spur the investigation into the late Dr. Richard Strauss.
Strauss died by suicide in 2005. He served in various roles in his 20 years at Ohio State, including more than a decade as a team doctor. He has been accused of sexually assaulting hundreds of athletes at the school.
About 350 men have sued the school in federal court over its failure to stop Strauss. Ohio State initially argued the claims are time-barred by law, then committed to a “monetary resolution.” But months of mediation haven’t produced an agreement.
Jordan, first elected to the House in 2006, worked as an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State from 1987 until 1995. Many wrestlers and even referees claim Jordan knew or was told of the abuse, but didn’t speak out.
Jordan, a former college wrestling champion, has said he did not know about the abuse allegations until the doctor’s accusers came forward publicly in 2018.
DiSabato called Jordan a “liar” on Tuesday and insisted that, “He’s throwing us under the bus, all of us. He’s a coward.”
Ian Fury, a spokesman for Jordan, told USA TODAY that DiSabato’s testimony was “another lie.”
“Congressman Jordan never saw or heard of any abuse, and if he had he would have dealt with it,” Fury said.
DiSabato appeared as a witness for hearings a bill which would allow Strauss’ victims to sue OSU by waiving the statute of limitations.
Contributing: Associated Press