Former Wrestler Alleges GOP Rep. Jim Jordan Called Him 'Crying, Groveling,' Wanted Help Covering Up OSU Abuse Scandal

Adam DiSabato, a former Ohio State University wrestling team captain, testified Tuesday that Ohio Representative Jim Jordan was "crying, groveling" when he called to ask him to deny DiSabato's brother's allegations that team doctor Richard Strauss' sexual abuse was common knowledge.

During a hearing on an Ohio bill that would allow victims of Strauss, a former Ohio State University doctor, to sue the university for damages, DiSabato said the congressman, who was OSU's assistant wrestling coach from 1987 to 1995, asked him to deny comments made by his brother Michael, who also wrestled for OSU.

"Jim Jordan called me crying, groveling...begging me to go against my brother.... That's the kind of cover-up that's going on there," DiSabato said, according to

Jordan's communications director, Ian Fury, disputed DiSabato's testimony and said the congressman wasn't aware of the abuse. "Another lie. Congressman Jordan never saw or heard of any abuse, and if he had he would have dealt with it," Fury wrote in a statement to Newsweek.

In April 2018, OSU began investigating Strauss, who worked for the university from 1979 to 1998. The probe concluded that the doctor abused at least 177 men during his tenure as the athletic department's doctor. Strauss committed suicide in 2005.

DiSabato's brother is one of Strauss' victims who prompted OSU to begin its investigation. He said he contacted Jordan before going public with the allegations. DiSabato said the congressman asked "not to get him involved," according to NBC News.

"I consider Jim Jordan a friend, but at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn't know what was going on," he told NBC in July 2018.

That same year, Jordan told The Columbus Dispatch that the abuse was not reported to him and that he "had not heard about any type of abuse at all."

"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," Fury told NBC in 2018.

During Tuesday's hearing, DiSabato encouraged lawmakers to come to a conclusion that would allow victims to sue the university. "Are you guys going to do what you're voted to do? That's the only reason I'm here," he said.

In a lawsuit filed in November 2019,about 350 men accused OSU of failing to protect students from Strauss' abuse, NBC reported. "Dr. Richard Strauss is dead. He can't pay for his crimes. Only his enabler is left," the lawsuit states.

Adam DiSabato did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jim Jordan
Representative Jim Jordan speaks to reporters during President Donald Trump's impeachment trial on January 30. Jordan, who was an assistant coach for Ohio State University's wrestling team in the late '80s and early '90s, has denied that he knew about a team doctor's sexual abuse during that time. Zach Gibson/Getty