wdiv logo

Survivor of former U-M doctor’s abuse wants university to take accountability

Survivors have more questions

More than 800 former University of Michigan athletes have come forward accusing Dr. Robert Anderson of sexually abusing them during exams.
More than 800 former University of Michigan athletes have come forward accusing Dr. Robert Anderson of sexually abusing them during exams.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – More than 800 former University of Michigan athletes have come forward accusing Dr. Robert Anderson of sexually abusing them during exams.

Jon Vaughn is a former star running back for Michigan football and last played in 1990. He is one of the athletes who said Anderson sexually abused them.

Vaughn met with Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Thursday after publicly sharing his story.

Read: Former Michigan athlete explains why he’s speaking out about abuse by Dr. Robert Anderson

Vaughn grew up in Florissant, Missouri. His football senior season at McClure North High School was incredible but his mother was only able to attend one game. She was fighting breast cancer at the time.

The next year he went to the University of Michigan with his mother’s cancer battle fresh in his mind. He said Anderson exploited his struggle.

“There were tears. There was frustration. There was confusion. There was pain. There was anger,” he said.

Vaughn said Anderson performed numerous unnecessary rectal and genital exams. Anderson also made Vaughn believe he needed sperm samples to check for a cancer-causing gene.

Vaughn and other players have been sorting out and reliving trauma from 30 years ago. Vaughn and other players are now wondering what happened to the sperm samples.

“I have four samples that I have no idea what happened to,” Vaughn said.

Vaughn said he heard Anderson make strange comments about “breeding perfect athletes.” There is 1971 ad in the Michigan Daily about Anderson’s “sex and marriage” class. There is an article from 1975 about another program run by Anderson asking for semen donations for artificial insemination.

“One of the questions that I would ask the University of Michigan today is ‘how many children are out there that you helped create without anybody knowing?’ And they need to answer those questions,” Vaughn said.

Vaughn said he thinks his alma mater should apologize to every survivor personally.

“You have to take responsibility for what will be the greatest sexual abuse and rape atrocity on U.S. soil by one man since slavery. This will go down as the greatest atrocity of abuse in the history of sports,” Vaughn said. “They have to take full accountability.”

The University of Michigan released the following statement:

“We offer sympathy to all of the victims of the late Dr. Robert Anderson. We thank them for their bravery in coming forward. We again apologize for the pain they have suffered, and we remain committed to resolving their claims through the court-guided, confidential ... mediation process that is ongoing.

The university is committed to continuous improvement in our policies and practices to promote student health and safety.”



About the Authors:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.