The Latest: More support flows from Capitol Hill to Jordan
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on a former Ohio State team doctor accused of sexually abusing athletes (all times local):
More support is flowing from Capitol Hill to Rep. Jim Jordan as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy says the congressman “absolutely would have acted” had he known about alleged abuse of student athletes by a team doctor at Ohio State University years ago.
McCarthy now becomes the highest ranking House Republican backing Jordan as “a good and honest man.”
McCarthy says he believes Jordan when he says “if faced with charges of abuse, he absolutely would have acted.”
Earlier Monday, GOP Whip Steve Scalise backed Jordan, as did key conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus, where Jordan is a leader. McCarthy, Scalise and Jordan are all eyeing House leadership runs.
Jordan faces claims from some ex-wrestlers that as the former assistant coach he was aware of the doctor’s alleged groping.
The third-ranking House Republican is confident U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan would “stand up” for athletes against abuse, becoming the first member of congressional leadership to support him in the Ohio State University sports doctor investigation.
GOP Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana says he’s always known Jordan to be honest. He says he’s confident he would “stand up for his athletes, just like he’s always stood up for what’s right.”
Jordan was an assistant coach at OSU at the time some ex-wrestlers now allege they were groped by the team doctor. They say Jordan was aware of the abuse.
Jordan is a leader of the conservative Freedom Caucus making a bid to replace Speaker Paul Ryan. The statement from Scalise, who’s also eyeing a leadership run, comes as key caucus members backed Jordan.
A group of GOP conservatives is showing support for a fellow Freedom Caucus member, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.
The seven lawmakers are backing Jordan after some ex-wrestlers at Ohio State University allege they were groped by team doctor Richard Strauss and that Jordan knew about the alleged abuse while working as an assistant coach in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, the current chairman of the Freedom Caucus, says he’s always known Jordan to be a man of honor and integrity. Meadows says he’s “confident people will learn the truth” and it will confirm everything he’s said about the situation.
U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona says he believes when all of the facts are revealed “Congressman Jordan will be vindicated.”
A former Ohio State athletic director says he doesn’t recall any complaints during his tenure about a team doctor’s alleged sexual misconduct with athletes.
Andy Geiger said he does recall some concerns about voyeurism in the showers at the university’s Larkins Hall but nothing specifically involving the doctor.
Former athletes have described now-deceased physician Richard Strauss as a locker-room voyeur who unnecessarily groped athletes during medical exams and wasn’t stopped by administrators even after students complained. The university has commissioned an independent investigation.
The 79-year-old Geiger told The Associated Press in a phone interview Monday he doesn’t remember being told about Strauss’ alleged abuse but it could have happened. Geiger says he doesn’t remember Strauss well.
A watchdog group and a former special counsel to President Barack Obama are seeking an ethics review of Rep. Jim Jordan even as former colleagues back his statements that he didn’t know about sexual abuse of wrestlers while coaching at Ohio State University.
Some ex-wrestlers say they were groped by team doctor Richard Strauss and that Jordan knew about the alleged abuse when he was an assistant coach.
The group Democracy 21 and former White House ethics lawyer Norman Eisen want to know whether the Ohio Republican made false statements about that. The request to the Office of Congressional Ethics says questions of dishonesty can bring discredit to the House in violation of House rules.
Jordan is a founder of the conservative Freedom Caucus and potential contender for House speaker.