A Republican Congressman Is Accused of Ignoring Sexual Abuse. Now He’s Attacking His Accusers.

Ohio State wrestlers say Jim Jordan knew a team doctor was fondling them.

June 26, 2018 - Washington, District of Columbia, U.S. - UNITED District of ColumbiaS - JUNE 26: Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, talks with reporters after a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on June 26, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) (Credit Image: © Tom Williams/Congressional Quarterly/Newscom via ZUMA Press)Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom via ZUMA

On Tuesday, NBC News published a bombshell report on Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, a powerful conservative on Capitol Hill who’s considered a possible future speaker of the House. Jordan was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State before he entered politics, and the university is currently investigating allegations of sexual abuse against the program’s longtime team doctor. Three former wrestlers told NBC that Jordan was aware of the abuse at the time, and one said he told Jordan about it directly. Jordan claims he had no knowledge of the doctor’s alleged predations.

Prominent conservatives, including President Donald Trump, were quick to defend Jordan. “I believe him 100 percent, no question in my mind,” Trump told reporters on Friday. Conservative pundit Brent Bozell channeled the feelings of others on the right when he suggested the allegations were part of a conspiracy to stop Jordan’s ascent.

It’s not especially surprising that the president, who once bragged on camera about committing sexual assault, would question the testimonies of sexual abuse victims, but the intensity of Jordan’s defenders only serves to highlight how tepid Jordan’s response has been.

Although Jordan has consistently denied having any knowledge of the abuses, NBC reported that he had not responded to requests for an interview from university’s investigators. On Friday, after another former wrestler—the fifth—came forward to say Jordan knew, the congressman reiterated to Fox News’ Brett Baier that he believed his accusers were lying, perhaps for political reasons. (Never mind that the abuse scandal first broke months ago, and the question of “who knew?” is an obvious one all such scandals.)

In response to the wrestlers’ claim that the doctor’s abuse was discussed openly in the locker room, Jordan insisted that “conversations in a locker room are a lot different than allegations of abuse.”

Locker room talk probably isn’t the framing you want in such a situation, and invoking it sounds like a distinction without a difference—what kind of coach would hear that kind of talk and not investigate?

The story doesn’t seem to be going away, in any case, and Jordan isn’t doing much to make it so.


The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.