WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican congressman from Ohio “should have known” about allegations that college wrestlers he coached two decades ago were abused by their team doctor, the House’s top Democrat said Thursday.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters that GOP Rep. Jim Jordan should cooperate with investigators “rather than deny and dismiss” accusations that he was aware of the problem.
Jordan, a leading House conservative, was assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University from 1987 to 1995. Some wrestlers from that period have accused the doctor, Richard Strauss, of inappropriately groping them during medical exams and other incidents, and some of them have said Jordan knew about it at the time.
Jordan has denied knowledge of the problem, and other wrestlers have defended him. Jordan has said he will cooperate with an Ohio State investigation.
Asked about Jordan, Pelosi said that as a lawmaker, Jordan has frequently said, “So and so should have known this, should have known that.” That was an apparent reference to Jordan’s aggressive tactics in House investigations in recent years to subjects including the FBI’s investigation of the connection between Russian election interference and President Donald Trump’s successful 2016 campaign.
“Many people say he did know, and by his own standard, he should have known,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi also said of the wrestlers who have asserted he knew of the problem, “Jim Jordan had a duty to protect them. They say he failed.”
Jordan has been defended in recent days by the House’s top three Republican leaders: Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and GOP Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
McCarthy and Scalise are potential successors to Ryan, who retires in January. Jordan is a leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and hasn’t ruled out seeking the top job, but would more likely play a role in swinging conservatives’ votes toward a contender.
Strauss died in 2005 in what was ruled a suicide.