Republican Rep. Jim Jordan is denying a report that he turned a blind eye to alleged sexual abuse at Ohio State University when he was an assistant wrestling coach.
An NBC News report published Tuesday alleged the powerful Ohio congressman was aware of allegations that a doctor was molesting members of the wrestling team when he was an assistant wrestling coach from 1986 to 1994, but that he ignored those claims of abuse.
CNN has not confirmed the details of the NBC report. Jordan's office denied that he knew of any such behavior in two separate statements Tuesday.
"Congressman Jordan never saw any abuse, never heard about any abuse, and never had any abuse reported to him during his time as a coach at Ohio State," the first statement said.
An hour later, his office released an updated statement that said: "Congressman Jordan never saw any abuse, never heard about any abuse, and never had any abuse reported to him during his time as a coach at Ohio State. He has not been contacted by investigators about the matter but will assist them in any way they ask, because if what is alleged is true, the victims deserve a full investigation and justice."
Ohio State University announced in April it was investigating abuse allegations against Dr. Richard Strauss, who died in 2005, for allegedly abusing team members from the mid-1970s to late 1990s. Three former wrestlers told NBC News it was known that the doctor would shower regularly with the students and touch them inappropriately during appointments. One wrestler told NBC News that he told Jordan about the abuse.
When stories about the investigation became public this spring, Jordan told The Columbus Dispatch, "I had not heard about any type of abuse at all," he said, adding that "no one reported any type of abuse" to him.
The investigation is ongoing.
Jordan is currently a member of the House Freedom Caucus, an influential group of Republicans who are known as the most conservative members on the Hill. He also has been "encouraged by some of his colleagues" to consider a run for House speaker, according to caucus Chairman Mark Meadows.
Janet Garrett, Jordan's Democratic rival in Ohio's 4th Congressional District, called on him to comply with the investigation.
"Any allegation of sexual abuse against minors -- or complicity regarding such abuse -- is very serious. That damage cannot be undone," Garrett said. "For any teacher, protecting kids is the absolute first priority -- and I say that as a former kindergarten teacher. Ohio State has an obligation to get to the bottom of this with a thorough and fair investigation. Jim Jordan has an obligation to cooperate fully with that investigation."
This story will be updated.
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