Ohio State wrestlers call for ex-coach Jim Jordan not to become House speaker

Jim Jordan has long denied he knew anything about the alleged abuse by Richard Strauss against OSU students

Martha McHardy
Wednesday 11 October 2023 09:15 EDT
Moment House of Representatives ousts Speaker Kevin McCarthy

Four former Ohio State University wrestlers have spoken out against their ex-coach Jim Jordan and his bid to become speaker of the House of Representatives.

The ex-athletes accused Rep Jordan of ignoring accusations and failing to protect them from sexual abuse by school doctor Richard Strauss, who died in 2005, when he was the team’s assistant coach in the 1980s and ‘90s.

One former wrestler, Rocky Ratliff, told NBC News that Rep Jordan “abandoned his former wrestlers.”

“Do you really want a guy in that job who chose not to stand up for his guys?” former wrestler Mike Schyck added. Is that the kind of character trait you want for a House speaker?” he asked.

Meanwhile, Dunyasha Yetts claimed that Rep Jordan “doesn’t deserve” to be speaker and that he “still has to answer for what happened to us.”

John Doe, another former OSU wrestler, added: “My problem with Jimmy is that he has been playing with words instead of supporting us.

“None of us used the words ‘sexual abuse’ when we talked about what Doc Strauss was doing to us, we just knew it was weird and Jimmy knew about it because we talked about it all the time in the locker room, at practices, everywhere,” he said.

A 2019 lawsuit alleged that Mr Jordan was present during discussions between athletes about Dr Strauss’ intrusive exams, but the congressman has long denied he knew anything about the alleged abuse and has been named as a complainant in previous lawsuits against Ohio State University.

Richard Strauss was accused of preying on hundreds of men who attended Ohio State University between the 1970s and 1990s under the guise of performing medical exams.

The university admitted it failed to protect students from Mr Strauss, and paid out $60 million in a settlement to 296 victims.

Jim Jordan is running to be speaker of the House

In June, the Supreme Court thwarted an attempt by OSU to dismiss the remaining lawsuits against the school.

Rep Jordan is the only declared candidate competing against House Majority Leader Steve Scalise to be House speaker after Kevin McCarthy was ousted in a historical first.

Mr Jordan, who as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has pursued an aggressive investigation into President Joe Biden and his family in an effort to impeach him, won an endorsement from Donald Trump to be House speaker.

Mr McCarthy was stripped of his title as speaker after eight of his own party joined with 208 Democrats in a parliamentary manoeuvre that hadn’t been tried in over a century, known as a motion to vacate the chair.

It came after Mr McCarthy helped to avert a government shutdown by approving stopgap legislation to keep the government running for the next 45 days.

But far-right Republicans claimed he broke his word to them after he sided with Democrats to prevent the shutdown.

The former speaker said he does not regret supporting the stopgap funding bill.

“Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but it is necessary ... I don’t regret standing up for choosing governance over grievance ... I do not regret negotiating for government is designed to find compromise, I don’t regret my efforts to build coalitions and find solutions. I was raised to solve problems, not create them,” he said last Tuesday after he was ousted.

“So I may have lost the vote today, but as I walk out of this chamber, I feel fortunate to have served the American people”.

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