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‘These are serious allegations’: Paul Ryan withholds support for Jim Jordan, waits for Ohio State findings
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Paul Ryan is retiring from Congress much as he served: by rattling Republicans with his weak, “bipartisan” politics as much as possible.
While other Republicans quickly supported Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) after seven former wrestlers accused him of ignoring sexual abuse at Ohio State University decades ago, the House Speaker remains noncommittal, saying Friday that he will wait for the completion of the university’s “rightful” investigation into the allegations.
Ryan called the recent allegations “serious.”
Paul Ryan stands against fellow Republican
“These are serious allegations and issues,” a spokesman for Ryan told USA Today in an email. “The university has rightfully initiated a full investigation into the matter. The speaker will await the findings of that inquiry.”
Seven former wrestlers on the team have claimed that Jordan knew that team physician Richard Strauss, who is now dead, was molesting them, but did nothing to stop the abuse. Jordan has denied knowing anything about the abuse, and has said that if he knew, he would have acted to prevent it.
“What bothers me the most is the guys that are saying these things — I know they know the truth. I know they do,” Jordan told Fox on Friday. “We trained with these guys every day, sometimes twice a day. And for — I know what — I know they know what they’re saying is not accurate.”
Strauss died in 2005. The college opened an investigation into the two-decades-old claims in April, and NBC recently reported that former team members had accused Jordan of covering up the scandal.
Trump, former coaches back Jordan
Some see the allegations against Jordan as a ploy by Democrats to discredit a well-liked Republican ahead of the midterms. Jordan, who many see as possible replacement for Ryan, has raised questions of his own about the “timing” of the accusations.
Daily Caller writer Chuck Ross reported that at least two of the accusers have a shadowy history, with one of the accusers serving 18 months in jail for a fraud scheme. And President Donald Trump said Thursday that he believes Jordan’s side of the story “100 percent.”
Jordan is a member and co-founder of the Freedom Caucus, a strongly conservative group of 31 Republicans in the House chaired by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC). Meadows came to Jordan’s defense, alongside other members of the group.
“I have always known Jim Jordan to be a man of the utmost character, honor, and integrity,” Meadows said. “I’m proud to stand by Jim Jordan and support him 100 percent and call on all of my colleagues to do the same.”
Another Freedom Caucus Member, Andy Briggs (R-AZ), called the accusations against Jordan a “complete fabrication.”
Six former coaches at OSU — former head coach Russ Hellickson, and former assistant coaches Dave Ruckman, Rex Holman, Ken Chertow, Myron Kharchilava and Kenny Ramsey Jr. — also came to Jordan’s defense on Monday, writing in a statement:
What has been said about Jim Jordan is absolutely wrong. 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 well-being of student-athletes was all of our concern. If we had heard of any abuse, we would have spoken up.
Jordan, himself a wrestling star, won NCAA titles in 1985 and 1986 before going on to become assistant coach at OSU from 1986 to 1994. Strauss is alleged to have abused athletes from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s.
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