A former wrestler at Ohio State University is walking back his past assertion that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) was aware of alleged sexual abuse by a team doctor while the lawmaker worked as an assistant wrestling coach at the university.
Mark Coleman told The Wall Street Journal last month that “there’s no way unless he’s got dementia or something that he’s got no recollection of what was going on at Ohio State,” referring to Jordan.
“I have nothing but respect for this man. I love this man. But he knew as far as I’m concerned,” he said at the time.
The Hill reports,
Coleman on Thursday sought to clarify that comment, telling CNN that he has no direct knowledge that Jordan was aware of the alleged sexual abuse.
“Maybe I spoke without thinking,” Coleman told the network. “This has absorbed my life. Since I’ve said that, it’s consumed me 24 hours a day, and I didn’t like the way it was heading, the direction it was heading.”
Coleman told CNN that he “was angry and said words that I shouldn’t have said.”
“He may have known about some locker room banter because we did joke about it in the locker room, but I don’t know of anyone ever reporting it to Jim Jordan directly,” he said.
“I’m clarifying [the earlier statement] because it’s been on my mind for a long time and I feel guilty that this happened, and I wanted to clarify it,” Coleman added. “Not change it. I said what I said.”
Jordan has repeatedly denied that he had any knowledge of the alleged sexual abuse by Dr. Richard Strauss while the lawmaker was working at Ohio State in the late 1980s and ‘90s. Strauss died by suicide in 2005.
Multiple former wrestlers have alleged that Jordan was aware of the sexual misconduct, while other former wrestlers and coaches have spoken in defense of the lawmaker.
Jordan is a high-profile conservative member of the House and is currently running to replace Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as Speaker.
“What a great defender he’s been, what courage,” Trump said after Jordan left the stage at the rally. “He’s a brave, tough cookie along with some of his friends.”