Home 2020 Elections Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA05) Endorsed by the Infamous Rep. “Gym” Jordan (R),...

Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA05) Endorsed by the Infamous Rep. “Gym” Jordan (R), Accused of Ignoring Sexual Abuse of Ohio St. Wrestlers for Years

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As you’re probably aware, embattled Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA05) is facing a strong challenge in the VA05 GOP’s upcoming drive-thru convention at a church (nope, you can’t make this stuff up), astoundingly from even *further* to Riggleman’s (far) right, by Liberty University’s Bob Good. Why? As Roll Call reported, in naming Riggleman the fourth-most-vulnerable incumbent U.S. House member in the country:

Riggleman became vulnerable when the 5th District’s Republican committee voted in November to have a nominating convention instead of a primary. The move could give extra weight to votes from religious conservatives on the committee who tried to censure the freshman lawmaker after he officiated a gay wedding. The nomination process has been thrown into question by the coronavirus pandemic.  Riggleman’s campaign was pushing to revert to a primary as a safer alternative. His opponent, former Liberty University athletics director Bob Good, told CQ Roll Call the party committee was planning a drive-thru convention in the parking lot of the church where Good happens to worship.”

And how has Riggleman responded to this? Predictably not well, as he lashes out at Good:

  • I never thought I would have to fight corruption within the Republican party, but unfortunately, that is the case today.”
  • my opponent’s campaign has engaged in voter intimidation”
  • Of the paltry $30,000 Bob Good raised for his congressional campaign last fundraising quarter, over 60% of those funds were spent paying Committee members to vote his way.”
  • Intimidating committee members and paying for votes is the definition of pay-to-play politics…This blatant pay-for-play scheme goes against any semblance of a fair process and is against everything we stand for as Republicans.”
  • One of these paid committee members even had their wife appointed to a special State Central Committee panel to decide the nomination process during the COVID crisis…it’s immoral and unethical.”

That’s just a flavor of the rhetoric we’re hearing these days in the vicious, nasty VA05 Republican nominating contest. Clearly, Riggleman is embattled, with his nomination quite possibly endangered. So it makes sense for Riggleman to rally the (far) right, by touting support from right-wingnut allies. But you’d think that there might be some right-wingnut allies that even embattled Riggleman wouldn’t want publicly supporting him at this point. For instance…

Conservative Virginia political blog Bearing Drift has the scoop: “a robocall of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), founding member of the Freedom Caucus, formally endorsing Rep. Denver Riggleman in front of the 5th District Convention.” Click here or below to listen to the audio, in which Jordan calls Riggleman his “dear friend,” calling himself one of a “list of strong conservatives who support Denver.”   problem with Jordan, of course, is this:

A college wrestling referee says he reported sexual misconduct involving a former doctor who’s been accused sexually abusing nearly 300 hundred men over a 17-year period to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a former assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State. The congressman was dismissive, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court, and the doctor, Richard Strauss, continued to treat and abuse students at the school.

Ohio State says it’s aware of 1,429 instances of fondling and 47 instances of rape involving Strauss, who committed suicide in 2005. Thursday’s filing marks the 13th lawsuit against the school.

Jordan has found himself at the periphery of the controversy because some former wrestlers have said he was aware — or should have been aware — of Strauss’s misconduct. Jordan has denied any knowledge of the abuse, and did so again on Friday.

The problem is, it’s almost *impossible* that Jordan didn’t know about the abuse going on all those years, given that:

  • Jordan served for eight years (1987-1995) as an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University, when the abuse of male athletes by team physician Richard Strauss was going on.
  • “In early June 2018, at least eight former wrestlers said that Jordan had been aware of, but did not respond to, allegations of sexual misconduct by Mr.Strauss. Jordan’s locker was next to Strauss’s, and Jordan spent so much time in the locker room that he created and awarded a ‘King of the Sauna’ certificate to the member of the team who spent the most time in the sauna ‘talking smack’.”
  • “Former wrestling team members David Range, Mike DiSabato and Dunyasha Yetts asserted that Jordan knew of Strauss’s misconduct. Yetts said ‘For God’s sake, Strauss’s locker was right next to Jordan’s and Jordan even said he’d kill him if he tried anything with him’. No wrestlers have accused Jordan of sexual misconduct; however, Jordan was named as a defendant in a lawsuit against the university by four former wrestlers. Several former wrestlers, including ex-UFC fighter Mark Coleman, allege that [former coach] Hellickson contacted two witnesses in an attempt to pressure them to support Jordan the day after they accused the congressman of turning a blind eye to alleged sexual abuse.”
  • “Jordan has refused to cooperate with investigations into Strauss.”
  • “In November 2019, a retired wrestling referee filed a lawsuit alleging that he had warned Jordan and Hellickson about Strauss’ misconduct.”
  • “In February 2020, Adam DiSabato—the brother of Mike DiSabato—testified before the Ohio House Civil Justice Committee that ‘Jim Jordan called me crying, crying. Groveling. On the 4th of July, begging me to go against my brother. Begging me. Crying for a half hour. That’s the kind of cover-up that’s going on there’.”

So that’s “Gym” Jordan, the guy who has now endorsed Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA05) for reelection. And the sad thing is, given the current, warped state of the Republican Party, it might even help Riggleman. Unless it backfires, that is, by conservatives who are disgusted by the sordid scandal Jordan’s involved in…

P.S. Riggleman was just labeled “Somewhat Liberal” (!) by a far-right group. So maybe Riggleman really does need the former college wrestling coach’s help to get out of the “full nelson” he finds himself in? LOL