One of the former Ohio State University wrestlers who accused Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) of ignoring sexual abuse while he served as an assistant wrestling coach at the school decades ago has recanted.
Mark Coleman, a former OSU wrestler and UFC world champion, had claimed Jordan was aware of rampant sexual abuse from then-team doctor Richard Strauss and failed to act. "There’s no way unless he’s got dementia or something that he’s got no recollection of what was going on at Ohio State," Coleman said in July, according to a Wall Street Journal report. "I have nothing but respect for this man, I love this man, but he knew as far as I’m concerned."
Now, Coleman is saying such comments "were not accurate."
"At no time did I ever say or have any direct knowledge that Jim Jordan knew of Dr. Richard Strauss' inappropriate behavior," said a statement from the former wrestler, released on Thursday. "I have nothing but respect for Jim Jordan as I have known him for more than 30 years and know him to be of impeccable character."
"We stand by our reporting," a spokesperson for the WSJ told NBC News.
A university investigation has been launched into the alleged sex abuse of student athletes, including Coleman, at the hands of Strauss from 1978 to 1998, when he was employed by OSU. Strauss killed himself in 2005.
Jordan, who announced his run for speaker of the House in late July, has vehemently denied any knowledge of such abuse. He served as assistant coach at OSU from 1987 to 1995. "Conversations in a locker room are a lot different than allegations of abuse or reported abuse," the GOP rep told Fox News, adding, "no one ever reported any abuse to me."
Additionally, Coleman came out to distance himself from former OSU wrestler Mike DiSabato, who has been the leading voice accusing Jordan of knowledge and inaction regarding the abuse. "I am distancing myself from Mike DiSabato, as he is not my manager and does not speak for me," said Coleman. "I am also disappointed with many of the public statements made by Mr. DiSabato and his personal attacks on individuals employed by the university and others."
As noted by The Daily Wire's Ashe Schow last month, the accusations against Jordan are seemingly suspect. "If the timing of these allegations — roping in Jordan as some kind of accomplice — sounds suspect, that’s because it is," argued Schow. "Jordan was the assistant wrestling coach from 1987 to 1995, long before the #MeToo era and campus culture of reporting any joke or errant comment for investigation. These accusations didn’t come out then, or when he was running for the Ohio General Assembly in 1994, or when he was elected to the Ohio Senate in 2000, or when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006, or in any of the 12 years since. ... It was only after news reports said Jordan was considering a run to replace Paul Ryan (R-WI) as speaker of the House that the accusations against him came up."