Ohio State University wrestlers claimed Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) deliberately ignored sexual assault allegations while coaching the team.
After House Speaker Ryan Paul (R-WI) came out in support of his Republican colleague, it has now emerged that the retired Ohio State wrestling coach Russ Hellickson wanted his accusers to walk back the allegations and extend support to Jordan.
Hellickson reportedly contacted two former wrestlers via text messages and told them to he could help them release a statement.
“I’m sorry you got caught up in the media train. 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,” read the message.
The offer was made to the wrestlers just a day after the allegations surfaced and Jordan denied the allegations saying that he had no idea that the team doctor Richard Strauss was reportedly sexually assaulting them.
However, accusers said denied the claim and said Jordan was aware of the situation because the assault was discussed several times in the locker room. Dunyasha Yetts, a former wrestler, said that he informed both Hellickson and Jordan about misconduct but they did nothing about it.
The athlete also recounted a recent call that he received from Hellickson.
“I will defend Jimmy until I have to put my hand on a Bible and be asked to tell the truth, then Jimmy will be on his own.’ I told him, 'I’m going to contradict you, coach, because I’m telling the truth,’” he said.
Former wrestler Mike DiSabato, who blatantly called Jordan a “liar” for denying he knew of the abuse, also received similar calls.
“He [Hellickson] called me after the story broke, too. He said Jimmy was telling him he had to make a statement supporting him and he called to tell me why he was going to make it,” he said.
Yetts said when he refused to release a support statement for Jordan; they began digging up dirt on him and challenged his credibility by bringing forward his prison sentence for bilking investors.
The doctor accused of sexual misconduct killed himself in 2005 and the university has opened an investigation into the allegations.
Despite the allegations, the Republican announced he intended to run for House Speaker after Paul Ryan’s retirement. His bid for the House Speaker was widely supported by conservative Republicans — who, like their fellow lawmaker, remained muted on various allegations of aiding and abating a sexual predator.
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters, Joshua Roberts