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Referee Says He Told Rep. Jim Jordan About Ohio State Doctor's Sexual Misconduct


In a lawsuit filed in Ohio on Thursday, a referee claims that when he told Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) that former Ohio State doctor Richard Strauss masturbated in front of him in a shower, Jordan did nothing to report it, according to NBC News.

"Yeah, that's Strauss," Jordan, then an assistant coach, and head wrestling coach Russ Hellickson told the referee when he informed them of the incident, according to the lawsuit. The referee, identified as John Doe 42 in the lawsuit, said the incident took place in 1994 after a wrestling match.

John Doe 42 is the second person to claim he told Jordan about Strauss's sexual misconduct. Jordan has repeatedly denied that he knew about the doctor's behavior. 

In May, Ohio State released a report saying Strauss–who died by suicide in 2005–sexually abused at least 177 male athletes over two decades.

The referee claims in the lawsuit that Strauss's behavior was common knowledge. He said when he told Jordan and Hellickson about the shower incident, they replied, "Yeah, yeah, we know.”

"It was common knowledge what Strauss was doing so the attitude was it is what it is," he told NBC News. "I wish Jim, and Russ, too, 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. What was a shock to me is that Strauss tried to do that to me. He was breaking new ground by going after a ref."

Former Ohio State wrestler Dunyasha Yetts was the first person to publicly say he complained to Jordan about Strauss. Yetts said he visited Strauss about a thumb injury and the doctor tried to pull down his pants. He left the room and told Jordan and Hellickson about the incident.

Many of Strauss's accusers have alleged he groped them during medical exams or stared at them in locker rooms. The former athletes told investigators that they thought Strauss's behavior was an "open secret" that coaches and trainers were aware of.

Ohio State hired a law firm to conduct an investigation and admitted in its report that university personnel knew about the claims against Strauss as early as 1979 but failed to take action.

Jordan's spokesperson, Ian Fury, did not respond to NBC News' request for comment, and Hellickson did not return the outlet's calls for comment.

Ohio State spokesperson Ben Johnson told NBC News that the university "has led the effort to investigate and expose the misdeeds of Richard Strauss and the systemic failures to respond, and the university is committed to a fair resolution.

"The university is actively participating in good faith in the mediation process directed by the federal court. In addition, since February, Ohio State has been covering the cost of professionally certified counseling services and treatment for anyone affected, as well as reimbursing costs for counseling already received."