Is Another Midwestern Wrestling Coach — like Former GOP Speaker Dennis Hastert — Hiding Facts About the Molestation of Wrestlers He Coached?
There’s already been too much teeth-gnashing among many progressives over the news that Gym Jordan is throwing his jock strap into the ring for the fight over who will now be Donald Trump’s new spokesperson in the Speaker’s Chair.
In response to many of my liberal colleagues bursting into flames over the mention of Jordan’s name, I offer two words: Dennis Hastert.
You might remember good ole’ Denny, the last wrestling coach to rise (no double-entendre intended yet) to be Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The coach of the Yorkville, Illinois Boys High School Wrestling Team, Hastert was the longest serving GOP House Speaker in American history, serving from 1999 through 2007. The problem, however, wasn’t Hastert’s endurance; it was his obdurate obedience to his lust for young boys, being unable to keep his hands out of the tight wrestling jerseys of the muscular teen-aged boys he coached. He later admitted to molesting four of them as young as 14-years old.
Years after his long affair with the Speakership ended, Hastert was indicted in 2015, and served 13 months in prison for being a “serial child molester,” and having sex with some of the underage boys on the Illinois high school wrestling team he coached to a State Championship. Yes, the longest tenured Republican Speaker of the House of Representative actually was a pedophile, and did precisely that.
One particular team member molested by Hastert, the equipment manager Steve Reinboldt — whom Denny Hastert called his “right hand man” — died of AIDS in 1995.
Hastert, an Evangelical Christian from the Midwest who resembled a genteel, portly minister, was not only convicted of being a pedophile, but also of paying hush money to some of the boys he molested . For years since his conviction as a Pedophile, the GOP Speaker who advanced “family values” during the Reagan Administrations was the poster-boy for utter and complete hypocrisy, as well as predatory criminality against children, and bribing them to buy their silence. The longest tenured GOP Speaker of the House in US history who is now, 81 years old, celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary this year, and is living in quiet comfort in Illinois.
So, when I hear a quake in the voices of otherwise smart people when they utter the words of the jacketless jackass, Gym Jordan, I quietly respond: Dennis Hastert.
Jordan, who represents Ohio’s 4th Congressional District, only a few hours drive from Denny Hastert’s Illinois home, did not coach high school wrestlers in Illinois, but college wrestlers at Ohio State. Jordan, the Assistant Wrestling Coach for the Ohio State Men’s Wrestling Team for eight years, worked closely with Team Physician Dr. Richard Strauss, held liable by Ohio State University for sexually abusing wrestlers, in the Ohio State Wrestling Team’s massive abuse scandal.
Dr. Strauss killed himself in 2005 at the age of 67 — while Jim Jordan was serving in the Ohio State Senate — and, Ohio State University formally apologized to his victims, reaching a $60 million settlement with at least 296 people. In June, 2023, the US Supreme Court left in place a crucial US Circuit Court of Appeals decision allowing more than 230 men to sue Ohio State over the decades old sexual abuse scandal.
The student-athletes who sued were among hundreds of Ohio State alumni who claim they were sexually abused by Dr. Strauss, from 1978–1998. Strauss and Jordan both worked for Ohio State University from 1987–1995.
In March, 2020, CNN reported that “Six Former Wrestlers Say Rep. Jim Jordan Knew About Abusive OSU Doctor.” The story details how “six former OSU wrestlers told CNN in recent interviews that they were present when Jordan heard or responded to sexual misconduct complaints about team doctor, Richard Strauss.” Despite statements from former Ohio State wrestlers that Coach Jordan knew about the sex abuse being committed by Strauss, Jordan has consistently denied any knowledge of Stauss’ sexual molestation of athletes, often done in the showers of the OSU locker room, which Jordan, as Assistant Wrestling Coach, shared.
“When we heard Jim (Jordan) say he wasn’t aware, everyone just thought “Are You Kidding?,” former OSU Wrestler Dan Ritchie told CNN. “I like Jimmy, but he took the wrong stance from the get-go and now he can’t back-track.”
Another former Ohio State wrestler, Mike Flushe, said to CNN that he remembers Jordan responding to a complaint about Strauss by saying “If he ever tried that with me I’d snap his neck like a stick of dry balsa wood.”
A third OSU wrestler, Dunyasha Yetts, told CNN he first raised concerns about Dr. Strauss groping him to Assistant Coach Jordan in 1992. One year later, after Yetts was again molested by Strauss in the doctor’s office, he specifically told Jim Jordan about it, and Jordan’s response was “If he tried that on me, I would kill him.”
Two additional former wrestlers, Shawn Dailey and Mike Glane, told CNN that they “remember witnessing Yetts complain about Strauss’ behavior immediately after the incident, in the presence of Jordan.”
During his 2018 re-election campaign to Congress, Jordan’s campaign committee paid some $95,000 to a PR firm, to whitewash the facts about the Ohio State Sex Abuse scandal, and personally pleaded with some of his former wrestler’s to alter their testimony, according to CNN.
So, it’s entirely appropriate, should Gym Jordan snap his lycra after becoming the second Wrestling Coach to be elected GOP House Speaker, for CNN, other media outlets, and Federal and State courts and prosecutors, to reopen the investigation into that massive sex abuse scandal, and find out what Jordan knew about the hundreds of sexual molestations which went on under his nose for years, when did he know it, and why, if he knew, he never came forward with the truth.
If Gym Jordan decides to treat inquiring reporters by threatening to “snap their necks like sticks of dry balsa wood,” they just might be on to something.