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Michigan athletes abused by doctor demand full investigation

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Jon Vaughn, a former University of Michigan and former NFL football player, speaks at a press conference accusing long-time university doctor Richard Anderson of sexual abuse./AFP
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Jun 17, 2021 - 12:07 AM

WASHINGTON — Former University of Michigan athletes and students called on the school on Wednesday to conduct a full investigation into decades of sexual abuse by a long-time university doctor.

Richard Anderson, who worked at the Ann Arbor-based university from 1966 to 2003, is accused of sexually abusing hundreds of students and athletes. Anderson died in 2008.

Tad DeLuca, who said he was abused by Anderson while a member of the school’s wrestling team in the 1970s, called for an investigation into “Michigan’s culture of protecting sexual abuse.”

The former student athlete called on the university’s Board of Regents, who are meeting on Thursday, to cooperate with the attorney general’s office of the state of Michigan.

“We will not retreat until justice is served,” said Jon Vaughn, who played on the Michigan football team from 1988 to 1991. “We go from victims who suffered abuse to survivors who take action.”

The university retained a law firm last year to look into the claims against Anderson but DeLuca and others said that was not enough.

The 240-page report by the WilmerHale law firm, which was released in May, found that “Anderson engaged in sexual misconduct with patients on countless occasions.”

The university released a statement on Wednesday that referred to ongoing lawsuits by former victims of Anderson who are seeking financial compensation.

“The University of Michigan is actively engaged in a confidential, court-guided mediation process with the survivors of Dr Anderson’s abuse and we remain focused on that process,” it said.

The sexual abuse scandal has threatened to tarnish the reputation of Michigan’s legendary football coach Bo Schembechler, who died in 2006.

One of Schembechler’s sons, Matt Schembechler, said last week that he was abused by Anderson when he was 10 years old. He said he told his father about it but nothing was done.

Other members of the family rushed to Bo Schembechler’s defense.

“Bo had a clear and compelling sense of right and wrong: He would not have tolerated misconduct,” they said in a statement. “If Bo had known of inappropriate conduct, we are certain that he would have stopped it immediately, reported it, and had Dr Anderson removed from the university.”

Another university in the northern US state, Michigan State University, was rocked by allegations that a school doctor who also treated members of the US women’s Olympics team routinely sexually abused patients.

Larry Nassar was sentenced in 2018 to between 40 and 125 years in prison for sexually assaulting dozens of women and girls.

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