Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan has been a prime, if ever-coatless, advocate for Donald Trump's expanded powers, extended cover-ups, retribution against perceived enemies, and of course crime-doing. This has made him a Dennis Hastertian hero in the eyes of his fellow House Republicans, but back home nobody has forgotten that Jordan remains accused of abetting sexual molestation during his years as assistant coach of the Ohio State University wrestling team.
Former OSU wrestling team captain Adam DiSabato testified to his state's House Civil Justice Committee on Tuesday. As reported by cleveland.com, DiSabato had little patience for statehouse gamesmanship. "Are you guys going to do what you're voted to do? That's the only reason I'm here."
Jordan still stands accused of helping to cover up for sexual abuse of students by then-team doctor Richard Strauss during the period Jordan worked as assistant coach for the team. Multiple former students came forward in 2018 to assert that Jordan knew of the abuse, because they had told him of it or witnessed him being told of it, but that Jordan did nothing; Jordan remains defiant, claiming that all of them are lying.
Despite the scandal, Jordan remains in good standing—possibly, even, in improved standing—with House Republicans, who have elevated him to higher and higher visibility roles in defending the party's topmost sexual assaulter, Donald Trump. (The caucus appears to believe that covering for a predator is, in fact, the precise background needed for the current fight.) Back in Ohio, however, state lawmakers are mulling a bill enabling Strauss victims to sue OSU for his actions and their cover-up. That is the reason DiSabato was testifying on Tuesday.
The ranks of then-high school and college athletes who have come forward to accuse Strauss, who committed suicide in 2005, have continued to swell. Ohio State has tabulated nearly 1,500 sexual abuse allegations against Strauss. That is the behavior that Jim Jordan and other Ohio State officials claimed to be completely unaware of.
DiSabato again described Jordan's actions to the committee, as he has before, including Jordan "crying, groveling" in a phone call in which Jordan asked DiSabato to deny the allegations of his own brother Michael in order to defend Jordan.
Whether any of this will make a dent in own Jordan's ability to stonewall his way out of a scandal that would have very, very quickly forced the resignation of any lawmaker, back in the days when Republicans were not openly defending crimes committed by their own party members, remains unclear. None of them, after all, have a stitch of shame. From Alabama to Ohio, abetting sexual predators seems to have embedded itself as a new and rock-solid Republican Party policy plank.
What should the reaction of the rest of the nation be, at this point? What would even work? Petitions to censure or expel Jordan would be useless. Bringing in his accusers to speak to House ethics watchdogs would result in the allied criminal caucus, Nunes, Meadows and the others, erupting in rage orgies but little else. It is up to the voters of his Ohio district to remove him, but the Republican voters of his Ohio district seem quite content, still, to have a man who allied with a sexual predator be the voice of their community. We should presume that means what we all suspect it means.