A former captain of the Ohio State wrestling team told Ohio state lawmakers in a public hearing on Tuesday that GOP Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio) pleaded with him in 2018 to deny sexual abuse allegations of male wrestlers by a team doctor that was widely known within the program but was ignored, reports NBC News.
Adam DiSabato, who was a member of the Ohio State wrestling program in the late ’80s to early ’90s, made the bombshell allegation amid a public hearing on legislation that would allow victims of former athletic department doctor Richard Strauss to waive the statute of limitations and sue the university for damages.
An investigation found that Strauss abused at least 177 young men at the school’s facilities between 1979 and 1998.
Adam DiSabato is the brother of fellow OSU wrestling alumni Michael DiSabato, who helped spur the investigation into the late Dr. Strauss, who died by suicide in 2005.
DiSabato said during the House Civil Justice Committee hearing that Jordan, an assistant wrestling coach from 1986-1994, knew about the sexual harassment and abuse that was taking place. Many wrestlers and even referees claim Jordan knew or was told of the abuse, but didn’t speak out.
He also claimed that the GOP congressman repeatedly called him in July 2018 after his brother told press outlets that Strauss’s abuse was common knowledge.
“Jim Jordan called me crying, groveling, begging me to go against my brother, begging me, crying for a half-hour,” he said, according to video of the hearing. “That’s the kind of cover-up that’s going on there.”
Jordan, he said, called him repeatedly that week. “I had to have my lawyer call him to tell him to stop calling me,” he said.
Adam DiSabato, a champion wrestler at OSU told members of the Ohio House Civil Justice Committee that Jim Jordan was in tears when he called on July 4, 2018, a day after NBC News ran the story of Jordan turning a blind eye to sexual abuse of male wrestlers by the team doctor pic.twitter.com/DRrie0D1YD
— ☇RiotWomenn☇ (@riotwomennn) February 13, 2020
During an appearance on MSNBC’s “AM Joy” Saturday morning, DiSabato warned Jordan that the scandal isn’t going away — and that more will come out that will make him look worse.
“Well, in his statement, he didn’t say that he didn’t call me. I find that amusing, because, you know, he — he knows that he called me that day, and there’s proof and he doesn’t want to go there. So as far as the lie, I’ve already gone over this several times. I mean, it was blatant knowledge throughout our wrestling team, and there’s others that are going to come out on my behalf, and it’s just going to get worse.”
“Jim Jordan is just a symptom of the bigger problem at Ohio State,” added DiSabato. “He had superiors, Russ Hellickson, who I just found out called me a liar as well. This guy, we have text messages of him sending it to my teammates telling them to flip. So these people are delusional. And, you know, it’s all going to come out and Ohio State is — it’s going to get worse, because there’s other things that are going to come out. You know, they — they don’t want to go there.”
“And for — I was going to ask you, you say things are going to come out, is there specific evidence that you have, or that you or others that were victims or connected to victims at Ohio State have, that Jordan himself knew about the abuse that was taking place?”
“Yes,” said DiSabato. “I mean, the fact that he called me on the Fourth of July. I haven’t talked to this guy in, you know — the last time I saw him was at my teammate Kevin Randleman’s funeral. And Kevin Randleman was a captain as well. If he was alive, he’d be sitting here next to me, you know, with the same story, because he was adamant against it as well. So, you know, to keep denying it is just digging himself a bigger hole. If he would have just came out at the beginning and said, hey, you know, our superiors did nothing, then I wouldn’t be here right now. You think I want to be here?”