Referee says he complained to Jim Jordan about sexual misconduct by Ohio State athletics department doctor, lawsuit alleges

Former Ohio State University wrestler Michael DiSabato claims that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) knew about alleged sexual abuse at the university when he was an assistant wrestling coach. Jordan says he was not aware of the abuse.

Posted: Nov 10, 2019 8:10 AM
Updated: Nov 10, 2019 8:10 AM

A college wrestling referee says former Ohio State University athletic team doctor Richard Strauss masturbated in front of him inside a locker room shower in the mid-1990's, according to a new lawsuit filed against the school.

When he reported the incident to OSU's wrestling coaches -- US Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, then the team's assistant coach, and Russ Hellickson, the team's former head coach -- they failed to take any action, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday.

They responded, "Yeah, that's Strauss," the referee, referred to in the lawsuit as John Doe 42, alleges.

The lawsuit, filed in Ohio federal court by 43 men who claim they were "sexually assaulted, abused, molested and/or harassed by Dr. Strauss," is filed against OSU alone and has no individual defendants.

Jordan has previously denied knowing about allegations of sexual abuse at Ohio State. And he did again Friday.

"Congressman Jordan never saw or heard of any kind of sexual abuse, and if he had he would've dealt with it. Multiple investigations have confirmed this simple fact," a spokesperson from his office said in a statement Friday.

When reached by CNN, Hellickson declined to comment.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit do not list Jordan or Hellickson as one of the 20 named "OSU employees with authority to take corrective action to address it" who were notified about Strauss' alleged sexual harassment.

The referee is at least the second person to publicly say he directly told Jordan about alleged inappropriate behavior by Strauss.

Scott Smith, an attorney representing the 43 Strauss victims, said Friday the former doctor's abuse should not focus on Jordan, but OSU as a whole complicit institution.

"This isn't a political issue in our estimation. This is an issue about Ohio State. This isn't about Jim Jordan, he happens to be a witness. He just happens to be a name of a person who was present," Smith said.

Strauss was found by independent investigators hired by OSU to have sexually abused at least 177 students while he worked at the school between 1978 and 1998. He died by suicide in 2005.

The plaintiffs say the university's "knowledge, deliberate indifference and culpability" helped facilitate alleged abuse of student-athletes and others by Strauss.

Ohio State issued this statement in response to the lawsuit: "Ohio State has led the effort to investigate and expose the misdeeds of Richard Strauss and the systemic failures to respond, and the university is committed to a fair resolution."

This suit alleges Title IX violations

Several other lawsuits have been filed against Ohio State over the allegations concerning Strauss.

A suit filed last May by 37 former OSU students alleged the university "actively concealed" its knowledge of actions by the doctor. Two class action suits filed in 2018 by former wrestlers said the university turned a blind eye to a doctor's alleged sexual abuse of student athletes.

The new lawsuit is seeking an unspecified amount of compensatory damages for a litany of costs, including medical expenses, for deprivation of rights, for past, present, and future emotional pain and suffering, and for a loss of future earnings. The plaintiffs also seek a declaration that OSU violated Title IX by facilitating sexual harassment of students.

In the complaint, another former OSU student referred to as John Doe 32 claims that Strauss raped him in 1979 after he went to see the doctor after seeking treatment for pain, according to the suit. He said he blacked out from medication that Strauss gave him before waking up "face down on the floor experiencing extreme rectal pain."

Another former OSU student, Hugh Dyer, says in the lawsuit that Strauss attempted oral sex on him on multiple occasions. Dyer alleges that Strauss instructed him to take off all his clothes, complimented his body, and tried to move his mouth to Dyer's penis, but that Dyer managed to pull away each time.

Attorneys for the 43 plaintiffs call Strauss a monster who preyed on vulnerable students, many of whom were athletes fearful of losing their scholarships if they did not comply with university requirements of exams with Strauss. They characterize Strauss' conduct as "perhaps the greatest sex abuse scandal in American history" and "without question the greatest scandal in the history of American higher education."

OSU says it is paying for counseling services

OSU said in a statement Friday that it is "actively participating in good faith in the mediation process directed by the federal court" and that it has been covering the cost of professionally certified counseling services for anyone affected, as well as reimbursing costs for counseling already received. The school maintains it has taken steps to address Strauss' conduct.

"Ohio State has implemented multiple additional safeguards in the 20 years since Strauss left the university and is committed to appropriately addressing Strauss' abuse from decades ago. Richard Strauss' actions are reprehensible, and we remain deeply concerned for all those who have been affected by Strauss," the school said in a statement.

Many of the lawsuit's 43 plaintiffs dropped out of OSU and never earned a college degree, the suit says, and several still suffer debilitating anxiety and reported experiencing confusion with their sexuality. Multiple plaintiffs report fearing sending their own children off to college out of fear they may also be abused, the suit says.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 62303

Reported Deaths: 1724
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin19677840
Ramsey7775269
Dakota4558106
Anoka3792115
Stearns291320
Washington219247
Olmsted178123
Nobles17736
Scott160822
Mower11072
Rice10428
Blue Earth9415
Wright9035
Carver8903
Clay79240
Sherburne73710
Kandiyohi7051
St. Louis60020
Todd4292
Lyon4253
Freeborn3601
Nicollet35113
Steele3512
Watonwan3281
Benton3233
Winona26516
Beltrami2490
Crow Wing24614
Le Sueur2301
Martin2095
McLeod2080
Chisago2071
Goodhue2029
Otter Tail1983
Cottonwood1770
Becker1611
Pipestone1589
Polk1564
Waseca1490
Itasca14612
Carlton1450
Douglas1442
Unassigned13346
Dodge1310
Isanti1310
Pine1290
Murray1241
Chippewa1091
Morrison931
Wabasha920
Brown892
Faribault890
Meeker872
Rock850
Sibley842
Koochiching803
Jackson790
Cass762
Pennington751
Mille Lacs723
Fillmore710
Renville675
Lincoln590
Grant563
Swift551
Roseau530
Yellow Medicine520
Pope480
Houston440
Aitkin401
Norman400
Kanabec372
Redwood360
Hubbard350
Wilkin353
Marshall290
Mahnomen271
Wadena270
Red Lake240
Big Stone220
Lake220
Stevens180
Clearwater140
Traverse110
Lac qui Parle80
Cook50
Lake of the Woods40
Kittson30

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 49830

Reported Deaths: 948
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10535208
Woodbury375452
Black Hawk318066
Linn244588
Johnson212320
Dallas191335
Buena Vista179712
Scott175814
Dubuque172231
Marshall145226
Pottawattamie135029
Story118115
Wapello92733
Muscatine85748
Webster8428
Crawford7363
Sioux6503
Cerro Gordo64417
Warren5821
Tama55629
Jasper48427
Wright4781
Plymouth47412
Clinton4214
Dickinson3854
Louisa37814
Washington30510
Boone2663
Hamilton2521
Franklin24812
Bremer2317
Clarke2063
Clay2031
Carroll1962
Des Moines1942
Emmet1934
Shelby1871
Hardin1850
Marion1770
Floyd1633
Benton1601
Poweshiek1598
Allamakee1584
Jackson1581
Mahaska14217
Guthrie1375
Henry1364
Cedar1351
Jones1342
Buchanan1301
Butler1272
Madison1272
Delaware1231
Hancock1232
Humboldt1221
Lee1214
Lyon1192
Pocahontas1182
Cherokee1101
Harrison1101
Clayton1083
Taylor1000
Iowa971
Winneshiek971
Page960
Kossuth950
Mills931
Monona910
Palo Alto900
Winnebago890
Jefferson870
Calhoun862
Fayette860
Sac860
Osceola850
Cass821
Grundy821
Mitchell800
Union781
Monroe748
Lucas734
Worth680
Davis612
Montgomery604
Chickasaw560
Appanoose523
Howard500
Fremont440
Greene420
Keokuk391
Van Buren361
Adair340
Ida320
Audubon291
Decatur260
Ringgold231
Wayne201
Adams170
Unassigned70
Rochester
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 71°
Mason City
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 74°
Albert Lea
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 73°
Austin
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 73°
Charles City
Few Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 72°
Sever storm chances return for Friday night
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

NSIC suspends athletic competitions through the end of the year

Image

IGCA releases all-state honorees

Image

Former Austin Bruin lands on pro roster

Image

Constituents come out to hear VP Pence

Image

Sara's 10pm Forecast - Thursday

Image

Rochester Civic Theatre Unveils New Production

Image

Addressing Diversity in City Government

Image

Sara's 6pm Forecast - Thursday

Image

Restorative Justice for Veterans

Image

Unemployment claims lowest since March

Community Events