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University of Michigan Alumni Demand 'True Investigation' into Sexual Abuse Complaints Against Athletic Doctor

·8 min read

Raymond Boyd/Getty

Three University of Michigan alumni demanded a second investigation of the sex abuse complaints against the schools' former physician Dr. Robert Anderson.

In a press conference on Wednesday, the alumni and their attorneys called on the University of Michigan's Board of Regents to allow Attorney General Dana Nessel to lead the investigation.

The alumni, who are some of hundreds in a class-action lawsuit against the school, gathered across the street from the university's football stadium and spoke out against the institution's response - particularly that of former football coach Bo Schembechler and former athletic director Don Canham, who attended the school during the time of the alleged sexual assault.

"Michigan has not changed its culture," former wrestler Tad Deluca said. "Their actions show they don't want change. The university doesn't want transparency about Anderson and his enablers."

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Deluca sparked the initial investigation into Anderson's past back in 2018, when he wrote a letter to the school.

In the report released by independent investigators WilmerHale on May 11, it was said that after interviewing 600 people, "Dr. Anderson engaged in a pattern of sexual misconduct when examining patients at [University Health Service]."

"Concerning information about Dr. Anderson was discussed, whether directly or indirectly, with at least some UHS personnel," the report said.

Anderson worked at the university from 1966 to 2003, and died in 2008.

Deluca went on to say at the press conference, "We are not just victims of Robert Anderson, we are victims of an institution that failed us for more than four decades."

WilmerHale's report also revealed the former student wrestler first sent a letter to head wrestling coach Bill Johannesen and assistant wrestling coach Cal Jenkins about the alleged sexual abuse in July 1975, but that "Neither Mr. Johannesen nor Mr. Jenkins inquired about Dr. Anderson's conduct or referred the matter for investigation by others."

"The university doesn't want transparency about Anderson and his accomplices, whether they're living or dead," Deluca added. "The WilmerHale report fails to provide us with the full truth and transparency we deserve. I call on the U of M Board of Regents to cooperate and to allow the Attorney General's office to conduct a true investigation where all questions are not only asked but also answered."

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Former football player Jon Vaughn spoke at the press conference too, telling the audience, "Say my name. Because the time is now for all of you who have been abused here to speak up for justice. We speak because every victim matters. I am not John Doe. I am Jon Vaughn."

"I was ruthlessly, repeatedly and regularly raped by Dr. Robert Anderson at least 45 times," Vaughn claimed. "We will no longer be faceless. We will no longer be quiet. We will not retreat."

The former football player said he was "gaslighted" by university officials when he first came forward about the alleged abuse.

Vaughn went on to discuss actions he wants the University of Michigan to take moving forward.

Firstly, he asked that the university, Big Ten and NCAA to contribute $50 million each "to provide the seed capital for an independent nonprofit specifically created to eradicate the enabling and institutional complicity which results in the culture of abuse and rape against both students and athletes at the University of Michigan and the other Big Ten universities."

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Then, he asked the university to release "every single document related to every person either involved or affected by sexual abuse at the University of Michigan" to the public - adding, "open up my personal records and show me the chain of custody of where my sperm samples I was forced to give under the hocus-pocus guise of medical treatment and research."

In the WilmerHale report, it states, "We also learned of more than a dozen additional instances in which Athletic Department personnel heard jokes or rumors about Dr. Anderson's examinations, some of which highlighted Dr. Anderson's propensity for performing sensitive examinations for no apparent medically appropriate reason. "

Lastly, Vaughn asked the university's Board of Regents to "authorize the University of Michigan to fully and completely cooperate with an independent investigation by Attorney General Dana Nessel's office now."

Richard Goldman, a former student broadcaster at the University of Michigan also spoke at the press conference, identifying himself as another "John Doe" in one of many class-action lawsuits against the school.

Goldman alleged that he told Schembechler and Canham that he was abused by Anderson when he saw him to treat a migraine. "He told me to go eff myself," the alumni said of Canham's response.

Danny Moloshok/Getty U of M Athletics

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In the WilmerHale investigation report, former Vice President of Student Services Henry Johnson, former Assistant Vice President of Student Services Thomas Easthope, and track coaches Jack Harvey and Ron Warhurst all denied having been told about the abuse.

Schembechler died in 2006 and Canham died in 2005, thus not having comment in the investigation.

On Wednesday, the University of Michigan tells PEOPLE in a statement that they are "actively engaged in a confidential, court-guided mediation process with the survivors of Dr. Anderson's abuse and we remain focused on that process."

"The WilmerHale investigation team had full access to all available information; they decided what to review and what to consider," the statement adds. "Their report made it clear that many survivors required confidentiality as a condition for speaking. The university is committed to continuous improvement in our policies and practices to promote student health and safety."

A rep for Attorney General Nessel tells PEOPLE on Wednesday, they are open to an investigation if the university promises to "fully cooperate." The office was the same that conducted a probe into the Michigan State sexual abuse allegations against Larry Nassar.

"The mounting number of allegations against individuals at the University of Michigan appears to demand an investigation," spokesperson Lynsey Mukomel says. "However, unless and until the University agrees to fully cooperate and waive privilege, the Department of Attorney General would be unable to conduct a thorough investigation into the alleged crimes described by victims."

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Just last week, former Michigan football players Daniel Kwiatkowski and Gilvanni Johnson as well as former coach Schembechler's son Matt spoke at a press conference with similar allegations against Anderson and the university's lack of response.

During a press conference held on June 10, Matt's attorney Mick Grewal, founder of Grewal Law PLLC, claimed, "Bo knew" about the allegations.

"If Bo listened to his son, these two gentlemen (Daniel Kwiatkowski and Gilvanni Johnson) would not be sitting up here today," Grewal added.

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Schembechler's second wife, Cathy, joined by their son Glenn "Shemy" Schembechler and his wife, Megan, denied the claim that the former football coach was aware of Anderson's conduct.

"It is telling to us that Bo never spoke to any of us about inappropriate behavior by Dr. Anderson," they said in a statement to Detroit Free Press on Tuesday. "To the contrary, in our steadfast opinion, Bo was not aware of such conduct and assumed that any procedures were medically appropriate."

"To the contrary, in our steadfast opinion, Bo was not aware of such conduct and assumed that any procedures were medically appropriate," the family added, "He would not have tolerated misconduct, especially toward any of this players, family members, coaches, or to anyone associated with the University of Michigan's football program."

Matt's attorney's Grewal and Stephen Drew responded to the family's joint statement on Wednesday.

"That is the problem," they said in a statement to NBC News. "Bo did not tell them. In fact, he did not tell anyone. Cathy, Glenn and Megan were not even around in 1969 when Matt Schembechler first disclosed Anderson's abuse to Bo and his boss Don Canham. While it is understandable that they wish to erase the stain of the Anderson scandal from their family name, they cannot rewrite history."

Despite the various allegations, the WilmerHale report "some of Dr. Anderson's patients expressed support for him or reported favorably on the care they received from him."

The University of Michigan's Board of Regents is set to meet on Thursday, although no mention of the investigation is stated in the public agenda.

The University of Michigan's legal department, the University of Michigan's Board of Regents, and the University of Michigan's athletics department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request to comment.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to

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