A man testified at an Ohio statehouse hearing Tuesday that Rep. Jim Jordan had called him and asked him to contradict the accounts of his own brother, a whistleblower and alleged victim of sexual abuse by an Ohio State University doctor.
Adam DiSabato’s brother Mike said in 2018 that he was sexually abused by OSU doctor Richard Strauss while he was a wrestler there between 1987 and 1991, and that his assistant coach at the time, Jordan, an Ohio Republican, knew about the abuse, which Jordan has denied. Adam DiSabato was also a wrestler at OSU.
“Jim Jordan called me crying, crying. Groveling. On the 4th of July, begging me to go against my brother. Begging me. Crying for a half hour. That’s the kind of cover-ups that’s going on there,” Adam DiSabato testified on Tuesday.
A spokesman for the congressman called Adam DiSabato’s claim about the phone calls “another lie.”
“Congressman Jordan never saw or heard of any abuse, and if he had he would have dealt with it,” Jordan communications director Ian Fury said in a statement to CNN. “Congressman Jordan would never ask anyone to do anything but tell the truth.”
Adam DiSabato also testified that while he was a captain on the university’s wrestling team, he reported the abuse to Jordan and others.
“They did nothing. They told me they went to their superiors (who) told them to be happy where we’re at and keep our mouth shut,” DiSabato testified.
It’s unclear from the testimony what year Adam DiSabato is referencing, but his brother Mike spoke to CNN in July 2018 about his allegations that Jordan knew about sexual abuse he and other wrestlers were facing. Adam DiSabato says Jordan called him “several times.”
“I had to have my lawyer call him, telling him to stop calling me,” Adam DiSabato said, adding later: “He’s thrown us under the bus, all of us. He’s a coward. He’s a coward. He’s not a leader. He’s a coward.”
Adam DiSabato spoke at a Columbus, Ohio, statehouse hearing for a bill that would allow a victim to sue a university if a university doctor abused them.
The university addressed allegations that students and coaches reported sexual abuse to superiors in its investigation into the allegations against Strauss, which if released in 2019.
A spokesman for OSU said that for more than a year the university has led efforts to investigate Strauss’ alleged abuse and the universities “failure at the time to adequately respond to or prevent it.”
“We express our deep regret and apologies to all who experienced Strauss’ abuse, we are actively participating in good faith in the mediation process directed by the federal court and remain actively committed to a fair resolution, including a monetary resolution,” spokesman Ben Johnson said in a statement to CNN.
Johnson said the university has been covering the cost of professionally certified counseling services and treatment for anyone affected, as well as reimbursing costs for preexisting counseling and treatment related to Strauss.
Strauss died by suicide in 2005, before the abuse allegations came to light.
By Sonia Moghe, CNN