In a press release from a firm that has been working for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), former Ohio State University wrestler Mark Coleman said that his previous accusations “were not accurate,” according to a Thursday NBC report.
“At no time did I ever say or have any direct knowledge that Jim Jordan knew of Dr. Richard Strauss’ inappropriate behavior,” Coleman said in the release. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Jordan as I have known him for more than 30 years and know him to be of impeccable character.”
This stands in stark contrast to Coleman’s statement to the Wall Street Journal in early July.
Coleman had been one of the nine wrestlers who asserted that then-assistant coach Jordan definitely knew about the widespread culture of sexual abuse on the team, especially at the hands of team doctor Richard Strauss, took no action at the time and later lied about his knowledge.
“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,” Coleman said in July. “I have nothing but respect for this man, I love this man, but he knew as far as I’m concerned.”
Mike DiSabato, another former wrestler whose accusation started the entire investigation, told NBC that Coleman had been pressured out of his stance after Jordan, high school wrestling coach Jeff Jordan and former Ohio State team coach Russ Hellickson called Coleman’s parents. Another wrestler who preferred anonymity confirmed this account to NBC.
The rumors of a pressure campaign have long been swirling around this case, as reports surfaced in early August that Hellickson, at Jordan’s behest, was using his power over and relationship to his former wrestlers to push them to recant their accusations against the congressman.
The conservative PR firm that released Coleman’s new statement has been working for Jordan since mid-July and has a website called StandWithJimJordan.com that’s plastered with messages of support for the congressman.