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GOP lawmaker, former college wrestling coach denies accusation that he ignored sexual abuse on team

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has denied accusations from former Ohio State wrestlers that he ignored sexual abuse by a team doctor while Jordan was a coach. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Former Ohio State wrestlers have accused Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) of ignoring sexual abuse by a team doctor while Jordan was an assistant coach at the school, NBC News reported.

Jordan, an Ohio wrestling legend and former NCAA national champion for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, coached at Ohio State from 1986 through 1994. He has repeatedly denied knowledge of any sexual abuse.

"Congressman Jordan never saw any abuse, never heard about any abuse, and never had any abuse reported to him during his time as a coach at Ohio State," Jordan spokesman Ian Fury said in a statement to NBC News.

What are the allegations?

After disgraced gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was convicted of sexually abusing hundreds of young girls under the guise of treatment, some former Ohio State wrestlers decided it was time to speak out about what happened to them.

The athletes have accused the late team doctor, Richard Strauss, of sexually assaulting "male athletes in at least 15 varsity sports during his employment at OSU from 1978 through 1998."

The wrestlers, which include Mike DiSabato and Dunyasha Yetts, said Strauss would take long showers with the athletes despite not participating in any physical activity, and he would try to put his hand down their pants or get them to undress when treating unrelated injuries.

"I remember I had a thumb injury and went into Strauss' office and he started pulling down my wrestling shorts," Yetts said to NBC News. "I'm like what the f*** are you doing? And I went out and told [former head coach] Russ [Hellickson] and Jim [Jordan] what happened. I was not having it. They went in and talked to Strauss."

Hellickson admitted he confronted Strauss about his behavior at least once.

"I said, 'You make the guys nervous when you shower with them,'" Hellickson said in a video testimony. "His response was, 'Coach, you shower with your guys all the time.' And I said, 'Not for an hour, Doc.'"

What did Jordan allegedly know?

DiSabato and Yetts both said they told Jordan about the abuse, and also that it is likely that Hellickson discussed it with Jordan since the two were so close.

"Jim was Coach Russ' right-hand man," a former wrestler told NBC News.

Yetts expressed a fondness for Jordan personally, but said he is not being honest in this situation.

"He's a great guy. We would have all these great talks with him and he talked about how one day he'd be the president of the United States," Yetts said. "So it's sad for me to hear that he's denying knowing about Strauss. I don't know why he would, unless it's a cover-up. Either you're in on it, or you're a liar."

Is it being investigated?

The law firm Perkins Coie has interviewed more than 100 former students and witnesses and is working with Ohio State to investigate the allegations against Strauss, who committed suicide in 2005.

According to Fury, Jordan has not been questioned in the investigation to this point.

One last thing…
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