BREAKING: GOP Rep Jim Jordan flip-flops on sexual assault claims. Admit may have heard something.

UPDATE: On reviewing the Fox reporting again, it seems that after Jordan appeared to suggest that he had heard of abuse in the locker room — even Bret Baier seems to have interpreted Jordan’s words thusly — Jordan then again denied hearing anything:

BAIER: So did you hear it in the locker room?

JORDAN: No. No. No — no type of abuse. We did not hear that. And if we had, we would have dealt with it.

Which raises the question of why Jordan felt the need to suggest that locker-room confessions of abuse somehow don’t count because of the venue.

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After a week of denials, Republican congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio seemed to flip-flop on whether he heard about the serial sexual assault of college wrestlers under his purview as assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University in the 1980s and 1990s.

Jordan said in an interview today with Fox News, because he may have been told of the abuse while he was in the locker room, the report somehow doesn’t count, so he didn’t act, or wouldn’t have acted, on it:

“Conversations in a locker room are a lot different than people coming up and talking about abuse. No one ever reported any abuse to me. If they had, I would have dealt with it.”

Yes, Jim Jordan is claiming the “locker room talk” defense to explain why he may have permitted perhaps hundreds of boys to be sexually assaulted while under his watch as their coach.

For days, Jordan — a star of the far-right conservative family-values wing of the GOP, who hopes to become Speaker next year — has flatly denied having any knowledge of the alleged sexual abuse.

Today, Jordan’s story changed significantly.

In an interview with Fox News (video below), Jordan implies that he now remembers being told of the allegations. (Though he later denied it.) But, incredibly, Jordan suggests that the reports of sexual assault were simply locker room talk, and thus not to be taken seriously. This totally contradicts Jordan’s denials from earlier this week.

Here’s what Jordan told Politico earlier this week:

“It’s not true,” Jordan said. “I never knew about any type of abuse. If I did, I would have done something about it. And look, if there are people who are abused, then that’s terrible and we want justice to happen.”

And here is what Jordan’s spokesperson told NBC earlier this week:

“Congressman Jordan never saw any abuse, never heard about any abuse, and never had any abuse reported to him during his time as a coach at Ohio State,” his spokesman, Ian Fury, said in an email to NBC News.

Both Jordan and his spokesman made it crystal clear that Jordan did not “know” of any abuse, nor had he heard “heard” of any abuse, or had any abuse “reported to him.”

Well, that story seemed to change when Jordan went on Fox today. In this latest interview, now that five former college wrestlers have come forward to say that Jordan in fact did know about the abuse, Jordan invents his new “locker room talk” defense:

Actually, Congressman Jordan, when young boys under your purview tell you in a locker room that the team doctor is fondling their genitals every time they see him for a sore throat, and that it’s happening to everyone they know, there’s actually no difference between that an allegation of abuse.

Did Ohio State have an explicit policy during your tenure that reports of sexual abuse must be submitted in writing, or must only be passed along in the coaches office? Doubtful. And had you previously made the boys aware that their plea for help would go unheard because they picked the wrong venue to inform you that that they were being virtually and serially raped by your locker mate?

One doubts that Jim Jordan would consider it simply “locker room talk” if his sons told him, in a locker room, that their doctor was fondling them.

But regardless, Jordan and his spokesman made it perfectly clear that Jordan hadn’t “heard” about any abuse at all. That defense appears to now be changing. Why did Jordan’s story suddenly change, and why should we believe Jordan’s new defense when the old one was clearly a lie?

They’re his wrestlers. He’s the wrestling coach. They live on the gym floor and in the locker room. Where are they supposed to tell their coach about abuse in order to be taken seriously?

 

There are so many hole in Jordan’s story, and it’s clear that he now lied during his earlier denials. Perhaps now the media, which has been loathe to report on this story, will now take it seriously.

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You can hear much more background on this story in our latest UnPresidented Podcast, below:


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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