Following the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade last month, I reported on a 10-year-old Ohio girl who was forced to travel to Indiana for an abortion after being raped due to the Buckeye State’s trigger law going into effect.
• InstaHunks: Woofy Steve_in_LA and company (above) look totes relaxed for the holiday weekend.
• Deadline: The fourth and final season of Kit Williamson’s Emmy-nominated LGBTQ series Eastsiders will be available on Netflix on December 1.
• CBS News: House Republicans plan to announce Congressman Jim Jordan will move to the House Intelligence Committee, replacing Congressman Rick Crawford. The intent is to have Jordan, a staunch defender of Donald Trump, present during hearings to disrupt the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
• World Rugby: If you’ve ever followed rugby, you may have noticed that occasionally a ‘wardrobe malfunction’ can occur on the field. Via Instagram with the caption, “Cheeky offload…” LOL
• Politico: In order for Democratic presidential candidates to make the upcoming December 19 debate, they must garner 4% support in at least four DNC-approved polls of primary voters nationally or in early voting states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina) — or, instead, they can qualify by hitting 6% in two approved early state polls. They must also show donations from 200,000 unique donors, with a minimum of 800 donors in 20 states, territories or Washington, D.C.
• Advocate: Two federal judges have now struck down a new rule announced by Donald Trump’s Health and Human Services Department that would allow health care professionals to deny certain medical treatments or services to patients based on the provider’s own religious or moral beliefs — regardless of whether the patient could obtain the care from another provider.
• ET: Tina Turner took to the stage of the Lunt-Fontanne Theater during the opening night of Broadway’s Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, in New York on Thursday night.
The NY Times review found the book of the musical rather flimsy but raved about Adrienne Warren’s star-making performance as the legendary rocker.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Ohio, a wrestling referee said deceased doctor Richard Strauss masturbated in front of him while showering after a 1994 match at Ohio State University, and he reported it to then-assistant coach Jim Jordan.
Jordan is now a powerful congressman and has denied knowing anything about the numerous reports of inappropriate sexual behavior by Strauss during his tenure as a physician for the university athletes from 1986 to 1994.
Strauss passed away in 2005.
The lawsuit was filed by 43 individuals who say they were victims of Strauss’ abuse. The filing cites episodes of Strauss “drugging and raping athletes,” including underage boys who took part in athletic events at the university.
The referee, identified as John Doe 42, says both Jordan and then-head coach Russ Hellickson didn’t seem surprised when he told them about the encounter in the showers with the doctor.
“Yeah, that’s Strauss,” Jordan and then-head coach Russ Hellickson told Doe, reports NBC News. “Yeah, yeah, we know.”
“It was common knowledge what Strauss was doing, so the attitude was it is what it is,” John Doe 42 told NBC News. “I wish Jim, and Russ, too, would stand up and do the right thing and admit they knew what Strauss was doing because everybody knew what he was doing to the wrestlers.”
“What was a shock to me is that Strauss tried to do that to me,” added the referee. “He was breaking new ground by going after a ref.”
Another of the victims, identified at John Doe 49, said Strauss told him to take off his pants when he went to see the doctor about an ingrown toenail during a wrestling camp. John Doe 49 says he was 14 or 15 years old at the time, and the physician threatened him with a scalpel before sexually abusing him.
Earlier this year in May, a team of investigators hired by Ohio State University found the doctor had sexually abused “at least 177 male student-patients.”
“We find that University personnel had knowledge of Strauss’ sexually abusive treatment of male student-patients as early as 1979, but the complaints about Strauss’ conduct were not elevated beyond the Athletics Department of Student Health until 1996,” read the report according to NBC News.
The referee is the second person to say they approached Jordan about the physician’s behavior.
Dunyasha Yetts, a former wrestler for Ohio State, has previously shared that the doctor attempted to pull down his pants when he saw Strauss about a thumb injury.
Responding to John Doe 42’s testimony, Yetts told NBC News, “It’s good that people are starting to come forward and say the truth, which is that Jordan and the other coaches knew what was going on and they blew it off.”
Several former Ohio State athletes have shared that Strauss’ behavior was basically an ‘open secret’ among athletes but the coaching staff didn’t seem inclined to take action regarding the allegations.
The story became national news in 2018 when former university wrestler Mike DiSabato came forward to not only accuse Strauss but share that the coaches, including Jordan, turned a blind eye to the behavior.
At the time, DiSabato said, “They knew, they all knew, and they did nothing.”
For his part, Jordan says he didn’t know anything about the alleged behavior.
“I never knew about any type of abuse,” Jordan told Politico last year. “If I did, I would have done something about it. And look, if there are people who are abused, then that’s terrible and we want justice to happen.”
A year long investigation has concluded that Dr. Richard H. Strauss, who worked as a team doctor for Ohio State University, sexually abused at least 177 varsity male athletes from at least 16 sports over a nearly twenty year period.
According to a 182-page report issued Friday, Strauss would require the young athletes to strip, would grope them and make inquires of intimate/sexual nature all under the guise of providing medical treatment or examination.
“From roughly 1979 to 1996, male students complained that Strauss routinely performed excessive — and seemingly medically unnecessary — genital exams, regardless of the medical condition the student-patients presented,” read one excerpt from the report via the New York Times.
Over 520 subjects took part in nearly 600 interviews throughout the investigation.
The investigators wrote, “Strauss’ acts of abuse ranged from the overt — such as fondling to the point of erection and ejaculation — to more subtle acts of abuse that were masked with a pretextual medical purpose — for example, requiring a student-patient to strip completely naked to purportedly ‘assess’ an orthopedic condition, or asking probing questions about a student-patient’s sexual practices or performance.”
One of the athletes who spoke to investigators said he once complained of a sore throat to Strauss, which lead to a genital exam.
In addition, several former students shared that Strauss was known to shower with students, and hang out in the locker room.
The investigators found that many of the students were under the impression the physician’s behavior was an “open secret” and that coaches, trainers, even other team doctors knew of the sexual improprieties.
Indeed, the report shows that several coaches and players reported incidents involving Strauss over the years, but the complaints never saw Strauss held accountable.
There were so many complaints that an investigation was launched in 1994 by the university’s director of sports medicine, Dr. John Lombardo. He eventually dismissed the allegations calling them “unfounded rumors.”
Lombardo refused to sit for an interview with the investigators.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), now a powerful conservative congressman, was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State from 1987 to 1995. He has maintained he never heard any of the rumors regarding Strauss, even though the investigation by Dr. Lombardo occurred during Jordan’s tenure as an assistant coach.
Jordan told the Washington Posthe feels vindicated by the newly-released report saying it found no evidence he knew about the sexual abuses.
Actually, the report doesn’t mention him by name at all.
“I think the report speaks for itself,” said Jordan. “It confirmed everything I have said all along.”
But several former Ohio State wrestlers came forward over the past year insisting the rumors were so widespread Jordan must have heard or knew something about the inappropriate behavior.
In truth, what would a seasoned politician say about such rumors today? Can you imagine Jordan standing up and admitting all these years later, “Yes, I heard about those incidents back in the day, but I chose to do nothing?”
Twenty-two coaches interviewed by investigators said they were aware of rumors or complaints regarding Strauss, reports the Washington Post.
Upon the release of today’s report, Ohio State President Michael Drake issued a statement calling the findings “shocking and painful to comprehend.”
“On behalf of the university, we offer our profound regret and sincere apologies to each person who endured Strauss’s abuse,” Drake continued. “Our institution’s fundamental failure at the time to prevent this abuse was unacceptable — as were the inadequate efforts to thoroughly investigate complaints raised by students and staff members.”
Three groups of victims have filed law suits against the university, and Ohio State is said to be “actively participating in a mediation process.”
While Strauss was still a professor emeritus at the time of his death in 2005, Ohio State told the press today it would begin proceedings to revoke that honor.
• The mother of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter was told by mental health counselors he shouldn’t have access to guns. She ignored them saying “If he wants to have a gun, he could have a gun.”
• The Human Rights Campaign vigorously opposes Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh:
“This nominee was hand-picked by anti-LGBTQ, anti-choice groups in an explicit effort to undermine equality — and the prospect of a Justice Kavanaugh threatens to erode our nation’s civil rights laws, block transgender troops from bravely serving this nation and allow a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people in every aspect of American life.”
David Range, who wrestled for Ohio State in the late 1980s, said Jordan had to have known about alleged sexual misconduct by Richard Strauss, an athletic doctor whose behavior is under investigation by the school, because it happened regularly to team members and people talked about it. Jordan has denied he knew, saw or heard about any inappropriate behavior while he was an assistant wrestling coach from 1987 to 1995.
“Jordan definitely knew that these things were happening — yes, most definitely,” Range told The Washington Post. “It was there. He knew about it because it was an everyday occurrence.”
Two former college wrestlers have accused Rep. Jim Jordan (R) of knowing about alleged sexual abuse of wrestlers at Ohio State University three decades ago and failing to act.
Jordan (R-Ohio) responded after two former Ohio State wrestlers told NBC News on the record that he must have known about abuse allegations against Richard Strauss, a former doctor in Ohio State’s athletics department. Jordan served as assistant wrestling coach at the university from 1987 to 1995.
“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,” Ian Fury, a spokesman for Jordan, said in a statement. “He has not been contacted by investigators about the matter but will assist them in any way they ask, because if what is alleged is true, the victims deserve a full investigation and justice.”
Former Ohio State wrestler Mike DiSabato told NBC News that Jordan is a “liar” for saying he did not know about the alleged abuse.
“He knew,” DiSabato said in a brief phone interview with The Post. “That’s not a question. Why he had a spokesman put out misinformation is frankly beyond comprehension, because is he the target of this? No. It was common knowledge and he knew.”
DiSabato said he was first abused by Strauss at 14 as a high school wrestler. He said he believes Strauss abused 1,000-2,000 young athletes.
“He was Larry Nassar before Larry Nassar,” DiSabato said, referring to the disgraced former sports physician who was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing girls and young women.
This is a major scandal.
Jim Jordan is a major player in the House GOP caucus
He now stands accused of ignored systemic sexual abuse at Ohio State, where he used to be a wrestling coach https://t.co/EvxcIWIJwq
Incredible. This guy @Jim_Jordan has spent the last year dragging FBI officials into House hearings and screaming at them for not giving Congress enough information…and now he’s accused of not reporting a child molester to school administrators. https://t.co/RpYWbyBMbu
Rep. Jim Jordan, a powerful Republican congressman from Ohio, has been accused of turning a blind-eye to sex abuse during his tenure as an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University.
In April, the university began an investigation into allegations that Dr. Richard Strauss, who served as the team doctor, sexually abused team members from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s.
Strauss died in 2005.
Jordan, who served as assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State from 1986 to 1994, has publicly denied any knowledge of the abuse.
But his denials have been called out as lying by former members of the wrestling team.
Three former Ohio State wrestlers have come forward saying it was “common knowledge” that the doctor regularly showered with the athletes and touched them inappropriately during appointments. They say its impossible Jordan would not have known about the abuse. One player says he told Jordan about the abuse himself.
Former head coach Russ Hellickson, Jordan’s mentor, said in a recent video — made by Mike DiSabato, a former wrestler — that Hellickson had told Strauss that he was being too “hands on” with students.
DiSabato, whose allegations against Strauss prompted Ohio State to open its investigation, called Jordan a “liar.”
“I considered Jim Jordan a friend,” DiSabato said. “But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on.”
DiSabato said he reached out to Jordan this year, before going to the university, to tell Jordan that he planned to go public with his allegations. Jordan told him to “please leave me out of it,” DiSabato said. “He asked me not to get him involved.”
Another former wrestler, Dunyasha Yetts, told NBC News he informed Jordan himself about an awkward incident with the doctor in the mid-1990s.
“I remember I had a thumb injury and went into Strauss’ office and he started pulling down my wrestling shorts,” he said. “I’m like, what the f— are you doing? And I went out and told Russ and Jim what happened. I was not having it. They went in and talked to Strauss.”
According to Yetts, he and his teammates went to Jordan several times about Strauss.
“So it’s sad for me to hear that he’s denying knowing about Strauss,” he said. “I don’t know why he would, unless it’s a cover-up. Either you’re in on it, or you’re a liar.”
“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,” a spokesman for Jordan wrote in an email to NBC News.
After the NBC News story was published, Jordan’s rep added: “He has not been contacted by investigators about the matter but will assist them in any way they ask, because if what is alleged is true, the victims deserve a full investigation and justice.”
Another Ohio State wrestler, former UFC world champion Mark Coleman, has come forward telling the Wall Street Journal Jordan was aware of, but didn’t respond to, the allegations of sexual misconduct.
“There’s no way unless he’s got dementia or something that he’s got no recollection of what was going on at Ohio State,” Coleman said in an interview Friday.
DiSabato, however, has forwarded to NBC News an email he sent Jordan on April 24 asking Jordan to “give your full attention to the information attached to this email.”
“We [are] watching you, “ wrote DiSabato. “You have the platform to cut through the double talk, placation and finger pointing.”
Jordan never responded.
Based on testimony from athletes in 15 varsity sports over the years, DiSabato estimates Strauss sexually assaulted and/or raped around 1,500/2,000 athletes at OSU from 1978 through 1998.
Jordan is a staunch ally of Donald Trump and is rumored to be a contender for Speaker of the House after Paul Ryan retires early next year.
Regarding the Ohio State scandal, Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday, “I believe him 100 percent.”