Referee says he complained to Jim Jordan about sexual misconduct by OSU athletics department doctor

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, questions FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok during the House Committees on the Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
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Editor's Note: This story contains graphic content.

(CNN) - A college wrestling referee says former Ohio State University athletic team doctor Richard Strauss masturbated in front of him inside a locker room shower in the mid-1990's, according to a new lawsuit filed against the school.

When he reported the incident to OSU's wrestling coaches -- US Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, then the team's assistant coach, and Russ Hellickson, the team's former head coach -- they failed to take any action, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday.

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They responded, "Yeah, that's Strauss," the referee, referred to in the lawsuit as John Doe 42, alleges.

The lawsuit, filed in Ohio federal court by 43 men who claim they were "sexually assaulted, abused, molested and/or harassed by Dr. Strauss," is filed against OSU alone and has no individual defendants.

Jordan has previously denied knowing about allegations of sexual abuse at Ohio State. And he did again Friday.

"Congressman Jordan never saw or heard of any kind of sexual abuse, and if he had he would've dealt with it. Multiple investigations have confirmed this simple fact," a spokesperson from his office said in a statement Friday.

When reached by CNN, Hellickson declined to comment.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit do not list Jordan or Hellickson as one of the 20 named "OSU employees with authority to take corrective action to address it" who were notified about Strauss' alleged sexual harassment.

The referee is at least the second person to publicly say he directly told Jordan about alleged inappropriate behavior by Strauss.

Scott Smith, an attorney representing the 43 Strauss victims, said Friday the former doctor's abuse should not focus on Jordan, but OSU as a whole complicit institution.

"This isn't a political issue in our estimation. This is an issue about Ohio State. This isn't about Jim Jordan, he happens to be a witness. He just happens to be a name of a person who was present," Smith said.

Strauss was found by independent investigators hired by OSU to have sexually abused at least 177 students while he worked at the school between 1978 and 1998. He died by suicide in 2005.

The plaintiffs say the university's "knowledge, deliberate indifference and culpability" helped facilitate alleged abuse of student-athletes and others by Strauss.

Ohio State issued this statement in response to the lawsuit: "Ohio State has led the effort to investigate and expose the misdeeds of Richard Strauss and the systemic failures to respond, and the university is committed to a fair resolution."