Athletes abused by late doctor demand U-Michigan probe

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FILE – This file photo, date and location not known, provided by the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan, shows Dr. Robert E. Anderson. Former University of Michigan football players and others who say they were sexually abused by a now-deceased team doctor are expected to call for action by the University of Michigan’s board as the legacy of the school’s gridiron coach is being questioned over what he knew. The group has planned a news conference Wednesday June 16, 2021, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (Robert Kalmbach/Bentley Historical Library University of Michigan via AP, File)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Former athletes on Wednesday urged the University of Michigan’s governing board to launch a full investigation of sexual abuse committed by a late doctor and how the school failed to stop him during his decades on campus.

Standing near the school’s historic football stadium, they said a May report that detailed numerous complaints about Robert Anderson and the university’s failure to act was not enough.

“So Board of Regents, so the University of Michigan — say my name,” said Jon Vaughn, a running back from 1988-91 who was repeatedly assaulted. “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.”

The news conference was held a day before Michigan regents hold a regularly scheduled public meeting by video conference. No action items involving Anderson were listed on the agenda.

Attorney General Dana Nessel has said she would only investigate if the school is willing and cooperative. She ended a probe of Michigan State University and its disgraced doctor,Larry Nassar, because the university refused to release certain documents.

In response to the news conference, the university repeated a statement that it is in private mediation with victims over financial settlements. It also said an investigative team from the WilmerHale law firm, which produced the recent report, had “full access to all available information.”

The university lately has noted to news media that Anderson left in 2004 and died in 2008.

“Trying to hide in the passage of time doesn’t work. … The university doesn’t want transparency about Anderson and his accomplices whether they’re living or dead,” said Tad DeLuca, a wrestler in the 1970s.

DeLuca and hundreds of men said they were abused by Anderson during routine physicals or exams while he worked in campus clinics and in the athletic department. Anderson also was certified by the federal government to give physicals to pilots and air traffic controllers in southeastern Michigan, some of whom count themselves as victims.

The allegations against Anderson have been public for more than a year. But the scandal flamed anew with the release of the WilmerHale report, which included claims that legendary coach Bo Schembechler and athletic director Don Canham could have gotten rid of Anderson.

Schembechler’s son, Matt, told reporters last week that he, too, was molested by Anderson as a child but that his father did nothing. Other relatives, however, insist the late coach was not aware of what Anderson did.

Richard Goldman, who was a student broadcaster in the early 1980s, said Wednesday that he was molested after Schembechler referred him to Anderson because of headaches. He said he told Schembechler and Canham what happened but blames the late athletic director for failing to take action.

“Whatever one thinks of Bo Schembechler doesn’t matter,” said Goldman, who felt Schembechler treated him like a son. “The employee went to the employer. The employer was Don Canham. He did nothing.”

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White reported from Detroit.

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