By Brett Samuels
Posted August 7th 2018
(PHOTO: FORMER OHIO STATE WRESTLING COACH JIM HELLICKSON)
OHIO REPRESENTATIVE JIM JORDAN R-D-4
A retired Ohio State wrestling coach encouraged two former team members to walk back their accusations that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) turned a blind eye to reports of sexual abuse during his time at the school, according to NBC News.
NBC obtained text messages from the former wrestlers, which showed ex-coach Russ Hellickson urging them to issue a statement of support for Jordan.
“If you think the story got told wrong about Jim, you could probably write a statement for release that tells your story and corrects what you feel bad about. I can put you in contact with someone who would release it,” Hellickson wrote to Dunyasha Yetts.
Yetts told NBC News that he believes Hellickson was under pressure from Jordan to get the accusers to recant stories.
Yetts and former wrestler Mike DiSabato levied sexual misconduct allegations against the former team doctor, Richard Strauss. They additionally alleged that they told Jordan about the abuse at the time, but did not report it.
Strauss, who died in 2005, has been accused of sexually assaulting male athletes on 15 varsity sports teams. The university has since opened an investigation into his behavior.
Jordan has vehemently denied the accusations, and a number of former wrestlers and coaches have come to his defense and issued statements saying they do not believe the congressman was aware of the abuse until it was made public this year.
Jordan, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, announced last week that he will run for Speaker.
GOP lawmakers, including members of the House Freedom Caucus, have come out in support of Jordan in the midst of the allegations.