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Six former Ohio State University wrestling coaches released a statement Monday in support of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who is under scrutiny amid accusations that he knew about alleged sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior in the school’s athletic department three decades ago.
The statement defending Jordan, who served as an assistant Ohio State wrestling coach from 1987 to 1995, was circulated by the prominent conservative public-relations firm Shirley & Banister Public Affairs. It was the first example of a professional crisis communications firm getting involved in defending Jordan since the allegations became national news last week.
The article goes on to state the following:
Jordan, an influential House conservative, has repeatedly denied that he saw, knew about or heard about alleged misconduct affecting the wrestling team in those years.
“What has been said about Jim Jordan is absolutely wrong,” the six coaches said in the statement. “We all worked on the wrestling coaching staff during Jim’s tenure at The Ohio State University. None of us saw or heard of abuse of OSU wrestlers.”
The show of support is the latest development in the unfolding controversy, which centers on allegations that team doctor Richard Strauss groped wrestlers during appointments and ogled them in the locker room and showers in since-demolished Larkins Hall. Former wrestlers have said that Strauss contributed to an inappropriate, sexualized atmosphere at the facility that made many team members uncomfortable and that at least one wrestling coach worked to address. Strauss died in 2005.
The Washington Post also reported:
The coaches’ statement came from Russ Hellickson, the former head wrestling coach who was Jordan’s boss, and five former assistant coaches: Dave Ruckman, Rex Holman, Ken Chertow, Miron Kharchilava and Kenny Ramsey Jr.
“The well-being of student-athletes was all of our concern. If we had heard of any abuse, we would have spoken up,” they stated.
CNN reported that former president Barack Obama’s ethics czar has demanded an investigation into Jordan’s denials:
At the same time, Norm Eisen, President Barack Obama’s ethics czar, and Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a nonprofit watchdog group, filed a request with the Office of Congressional Ethics to launch a preliminary investigation into Jordan’s denials that he knew of the abuse.
presenting Wrestlegate https://t.co/pg5AAaF8bp
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) July 9, 2018
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