Dozens of former University of Michigan football players and others who say they were sexually abused by their team doctor demanded a “genuine examination” of Dr. Robert Anderson.
Gathered Wednesday outside Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, where Wolverines plays, they demanded that the university allow state attorney Dana Nessel to investigate how Anderson was able to sexually abuse several generations of students and athletes, mostly under the guise of doing physical.
Thus, they aimed at the reputation of the esteemed former football coach Bo Schembechler, sending shockwaves through the state and widening the gap in his already divided family.
Two of the abused students, who had previously refused to be identified by name, publicly revealed themselves as Anderson victims.
Vaughn is one of hundreds of men who were sexually abused by Anderson, who was a doctor on campus for 37 years and died in 2008. They are part of a federal class case in which the university put students at risk by not stopping him .
“I was ruthlessly repeatedly and regularly raped by Dr. Robert Anderson at least 45 times,” Vaughn said. “We will no longer be faceless. We will no longer be quiet. We are not withdrawing. ”
Richard Goldman, who was a student broadcaster in Michigan from 1981 to 1983 and who had also been described as a “John Doe” in court papers, said he told Schembechler and then athletic director Don Canham directly that Anderson abused him when he applied treatment for migraine headaches.
“He asked me to go myself,” Goldman said of Canham, who died in 2005.
The former Michigan students spoke before a Regent Board meeting on Thursday, where the Anderson scandal is expected to be on the agenda, and a month after a report commissioned by the university – and conducted by the law firm WilmerHale – said Schembechler, Canham and other university officials were aware on complaints about Anderson, but allowed him to continue working on campus and swap students.
“We are not just victims of Robert Anderson, we are victims of an institution that failed us for more than four decades,” said former Michigan wrestler Tad DeLuca, one of the whistle-blowers that sparked the investigation into The university’s role in allegedly covering up for a doctor who was commonly known on campus as “Dr. Drop your drawers Anderson. ”
DeLuca and the other victims said the university’s probe was inadequate and want AG to conduct its own investigation. But Nessel said last week she could only do so if the Board of Regents authorized Michigan “to cooperate fully.”
In response, the University of Michigan said in a statement that it is “actively involved in a confidential, judicial mediation process with the survivors of Dr. Anderson’s abuse, and we remain focused on this process.”
“The WilmerHale investigation team had full access to all available information; they decided what to review and what to consider,” the statement said. “Their report made it clear that many survivors demanded confidentiality as a condition of speaking. The university is committed to continually improving our policies and practices to promote student health and safety.”
Meanwhile, it was Schembechler versus Schembechler when relatives of the legendary coach, who died in 2006, clashed over accusations that he, too, failed to stop Anderson.
The family’s firestorm was triggered by the coaches’ son, Matt Schembechler, who last week publicly claimed that in 1969 Anderson abused him at the age of 10 and that his father refused to believe him. He said his mother, Millie, tried to get Anderson fired, but Schembechler got him reinstated.
Schembechler’s second wife, Cathy, along with their son Glenn “Shemy” Schembechler and his wife, Megan, fired back this week with a statement in support of the coach.
“It tells us that Bo has never talked to any of us about inappropriate behavior by Dr. Anderson, “they said in a statement this week.” On the contrary, according to our firm position, Bo was not aware of such conduct and assumed that any procedure was medically appropriate. ”
Bo Schembechler, they said, “had a clear and convincing sense of right and wrong.”
“He would not have tolerated offenses, especially against any of these players, family members, coaches or anyone affiliated with the University of Michigan’s football program,” they said.
Had he known what Anderson was doing, they said, “he would have stopped it right away, reported it and had Dr. Anderson removed from the university.”
Lawyers for a group of over 250 Anderson survivors suing the university said “it’s not surprising to hear some members of his family say ‘Bo has never spoken to any of us about inappropriate behavior by Dr. Anderson. ‘”
“That’s the problem,” Attorneys Mick Grewal and Stephen Drew said in a statement Wednesday. “Bo did not tell them. In fact, he told no one. Cathy, Glenn and Megan were not even in 1969 when Matt Schembechler first revealed Anderson’s abuse of Bo and his boss Don Canham. While it is understandable that they want to erase the spot on the Anderson scandal from their family name, they cannot rewrite history. ”
After Matt Schembechler and two other former Michigan footballers, Daniel Kwiatkowski and Gilvanni Johnson, said last week that Schembechler knew about Anderson’s abuse but did nothing, a group of ex-players started an online petition on Change.org to defend their coach who led the Wolverines to 13 big ten football championships.
“Our experience tells us that Bo Schembechler, we knew, would never have tolerated the abuse or mistreatment of his players, his staff or other people,” the petition said, according to The Detroit Free Press.
The petition attracted only 182 supporters and is now closed.