Jim Jordan Having Hard Time Pretending He Didn't Know Those Kids Got Molested
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio has spent the last week denying that he had any idea that the whole time he was the assistant coach of Ohio State's wrestling team, players were getting sexually abused by the team's official doctor Dr. Richard Strauss. In fact, rather than offering his sympathy to those who were assaulted, Rep. Jordan has accused at least one of them of "bullying" him. By sending him letters. About the fact that he was molested.
Alas, more and more former team members have come forward and saying that not only were they sexually assaulted by Dr. Strauss, but that Rep. Jordan and anyone else who had anything to do with the team was well aware of it.
Now, in an article published today on Politico, several former team members have come forward to say that not only was there sexual abuse going on in Dr. Strauss's office, there was also an ongoing problem with voyeurs coming into their locker rooms in order to watch them shower. One former wrestling coach referred to it as a "cesspool of deviancy."
A half-dozen ex-wrestlers told POLITICO they were regularly harassed in their training facility by sexually aggressive men who attended the university or worked there. The voyeurs would masturbate while watching the wrestlers shower or sit in the sauna, or engage in sexual acts in the areas where the athletes trained, the former wrestlers said.
Larkins Hall, the building that housed athletic teams, became such a well-known target that people who frequented it at the time have reminisced in anonymous postings online how easy it was to ogle naked members of the wrestling team.
It is hard to believe that this is a thing that the assistant coach of a wrestling team, who ostensibly also spent a lot of time at the training facility, would not have noticed or picked up on at some point in the eight years he worked there. Additionally, one of the former wrestlers says that he personally witnessed Jordan tell these dudes to get the hell out at one point.
Though none of the wrestlers and coaches interviewed blamed Jordan for the inappropriate behavior they experienced in Larkins Hall, they said he would have had to know about it. One former wrestler told POLITICO he saw Jordan yell at male voyeurs to get out of the sauna, though Jordan's office refuted this account. Even three wrestlers who defended Jordan said it would have been impossible for him not to notice the pervasive toxic atmosphere surrounding the team.
Another wrestler, Dunyasha Yetts, says that he personally asked Jim Jordan and former coach Russ Hellickson to come with him to Dr. Strauss's office to confront him about all the molesting.
At one point after being injured during his senior year, Yetts said he asked Jordan and Hellickson to come into Strauss' examination room with him because he didn't want to be fondled. Jordan's office said this allegation, which has not been previously reported, never happened. Hellickson also said he had no recollection of this account but declined to elaborate.
Now, Yetts has served 18 months in prison for fraud. According to Jordan, the former wrestler he has accused of "bullying" him by sending him letters, Mike DiSabato, also has a criminal record. There are those -- including Jordan himself -- who believe that this should lead people to not believe anything they say. Yet, in what world is it at all surprising that people who were sexually assaulted act out in other ways later in life? While these men were in college when they were assaulted, studies show that children who are sexually assaulted are five times more likely to engage in criminal behavior as adults -- which makes that a very, very faulty litmus test for determining who is telling the truth in these matters.
It's hardly surprising that Jim Jordan is not exactly thrilled to have all of this coming out right now. It's hardly surprising that he wouldn't want people to think he knew about this and did nothing -- which it is becoming more and more clear that he did. But it seems like he'd be a lot better off at this point copping to it and talking about why he didn't take it more seriously at the time than pissing on everyone's faces and telling them that it is raining.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse