Shortly after Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) was put on the House Intelligence Committee earlier this month, NBC News ran a story about a lawsuit against the Ohio State University that included an allegation from referee that Jordan knew that athletes were being sexually abused by a team doctor.
The allegation brought the sexual abuse story back into the spotlight just as Jordan gained a prominent role in the impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump.
NBC told the story of John Doe 42, a referee who claimed in a lawsuit against OSU that Dr. Richard Strauss masturbated in front of him in the team showers and that he told Jordan, who was at the time an assistant to former wrestling coach Russ Hellickson. John Doe 42 claimed he told Jordan and Hellickson about the incident, to which either one of the coaches or both apparently in unison replied: “Yeah, that’s Strauss.”
John Doe 42 also told NBC that “It was common knowledge what Strauss was doing, so the attitude was it is what it is.” He also said he wished Jordan and Hellickson “would stand up and do the right thing and admit they knew what Strauss was doing, because everybody knew what he was doing to the wrestlers.”
But an investigation by the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross found that the referee, alleged to be Frederick Feeney based on biographical details included in the lawsuit, had told a different story regarding Jordan’s knowledge of Strauss’ behavior last year and in the OSU investigation into the matter that ended earlier this year.
On his Twitter account last year when Jordan was first implicated in the OSU scandal (Jordan became the face of the scandal due to his political leanings), Feeney wrote: “Did Jordan refuse to do anything?? Hell if I know.” The next day, he wrote, “Let’s hope this is true” in response to a story citing Jordan’s denial of the allegations against him.
“In other contemporaneous posts, which Feeney has since blocked from public view, he insisted that he had ‘NEVER’ accused Jordan of lying when he denied knowing of allegations against Strauss, who committed suicide in 2005,” Ross wrote. “He made multiple other posts saying that he did not know for certain whether Jordan and Hellickson were ever informed of Strauss’s abusive behavior.”
Feeney also said he had been interviewed as part of the investigation into Strauss’ behavior. The report includes one interview with a referee, who said something similar to what Feeney alleges in the lawsuit, except for the part where he told Jordan and Hellickson about what happened.
Feeney was also a fan of Jordan’s for years until President Donald Trump was elected and Jordan became one of the president’s top defenders on Capitol Hill. Even then, his allegations against Jordan didn’t come up until the class-action lawsuit was filed.
Jordan has denied the referee’s allegations, saying this was just “another person making a false statement” about his knowledge of Strauss’ behavior. The investigation into Strauss did not find enough evidence to suggest Jordan knew what Strauss had been doing.