Former OSU wrestler accuses Jim Jordan of lying about claiming to have been unaware of alleged abuse

Adam DiSabato told CNN Friday that he had complaints about the late Dr. Richard Strauss, who was accused of attacking student athletes during their medical examination, had reported to Jordan and the team’s head coach during the alleged abuse.

Jordan has denied being aware of the allegations of abuse when he was an assistant coach of the university’s wrestling team from 1987 to 1995. When asked to respond to DiSabato’s comments on Friday, a Jordan spokesperson emphasized the comments of the congressman in an interview with Fox News in 2018, when Jordan claimed “what has been said about me is completely incorrect.” The head coach, Russ Hellickson, told CNN Friday in response to DiSabato’s claims: “That’s a blatant lie.”

“I think it’s a daring lie because Dunyasha Yetts went to (Jordan) and told him about an exam on his face. And it’s documented. There are several people who went to him. We all complained,” DiSabato said to Alisyn Camerota from CNN. on “New Day”, claiming that the allegations about Strauss were “an open discussion in the dressing room.” Yetts was a fellow wrestler who claimed public abuse by Strauss’ hands.

“We complained about it, but they never did anything about it,” he added.

DiSabato’s brother, Mike, said in 2018 that he was sexually abused by Strauss when he was a wrestler at OSU between 1987 and 1991 and claimed that Jordan, a Republican congressman in Ohio since 2007 and a state legislator for more than ten years, was aware of the alleged abuse.

Adam DiSabato told CNN on Friday that Jordan and Hellickson essentially told him to be quiet about the allegations.

“In fact, they both told me … not to say anything to anyone in that area that we got and to be happy where we were,” DiSabato said.

DiSabato told CNN that Jordan had called him “crying” in 2018 when accusations against Strauss, who died of suicide in 2005, emerged.

“He begged me to actually go against my brother’s testimony and come up with a statement. So I just listened to him and said I didn’t know what my brother was – what his motives were. I hadn’t talked to him But I said, “I can’t answer you now, I’m in the middle of something.” And I said, “Let me talk to my family,” and that was it. I just wiped it off. You know? And that was the conversation, “DiSabato recalled.

DiSabato had testified about the phone call during a hearing in Ohio Tuesday for legislation that allows a victim to sue a university if a university doctor abuses them.

A Jordanian spokesperson said in a statement earlier this week that Adam DiSabato’s claim about the phone calls is “another lie.”

“Congressman Jordan has never seen or heard abuse, and if he did, he would have tackled it,” said Jordan’s communications director Ian Fury in a statement to CNN. “Congressman Jordan would never ask anyone but to tell the truth.”

A report released last year by Ohio State University and compiled by independent investigators detailed acts of sexual abuse that Strauss assumed to have been committed against at least 177 students while working at the school between 1978 and 1998. The report found that university staff were aware of complaints against Strauss, but failed to adequately investigate the allegations. However, the report said it could not identify any evidence “indicating that members of the OSU coaching staff, including head coaches or assistant coaches, had received or were aware of Strauss sexual misconduct complaints,” a finding that Jordan said he justified him.
Mike DiSabato’s lawyer, Rocky Ratliff, told CNN that the number of plaintiffs suing Ohio State is more than 350. Ohio State University officials report more than 1,500 individual cases in which Strauss students sexually abused, according to Sauder Schelkopf, the law firm that represents a number of former students and student athletes.

The allegations against Strauss came to light in 2018 after former university athletes came forward to claim that the doctor had sexually abused them under the guise of a medical examination.

An OSU spokesperson said the university has been making efforts to investigate the alleged abuse of Strauss for more than a year and the universities are “unable to respond adequately or prevent it at that time.”

“We express our profound regrets and apologies to anyone who has experienced the Strauss abuse, we actively participate in good faith in the federal court’s mediation process and remain actively involved in a fair solution, including a monetary resolution,” spokesperson for the school Ben Johnson said in a statement to CNN.

Johnson said the university has covered the costs of professionally certified advisory services and treatment for all involved, as well as the costs for pre-existing counseling and treatment related to Strauss.

CNNs Sonia Moghe, Dakin Andone, Laura Ly, Lauren del Valle and Steve Almasy contributed to this report.


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