U-M abuse survivor asks: How could Schembechler not know?

Jon Vaughn says he was repeatedly abused by Dr. Robert Anderson
'How could Bo Schembechler not know?' asks U-M abuse survivor
Posted at 7:20 AM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 07:20:40-04

A former running back for the Michigan Wolverines who later played in the NFL says he was repeatedly sexually assaulted by university physician Robert Anderson.

“I’m not a John Doe,” Jon Vaughn said today in an interview with 7 Action News. “I was raped at the University of Michigan at the hands of a doctor that I had no choice not to see.”

Vaughn played at Michigan from 1988 to 1992, a stretch when the Wolverines won or tied for the Big Ten Title every season. It was a celebrated era in the program’s history that we now know was also its darkest.

“It put a black cloud, if you will, over a period of time that you experienced so much success, so much comradery,” Vaughn said.

Over dozens of visits, Vaughn says he was sexually assaulted by Dr. Robert Anderson, the team’s physician. During physical exams, he says Anderson fondled his genitals and penetrated him.

“You start to remember things like the pattern of breathing, how close his face was to your groin area. Where you could feel him breathing, Vaughn said, adding later: “Then you get this ‘aha’ moment that—you were raped. Several times.”

Hundreds of former athletes and students now accuse Anderson of abusing them, with stories eerily similar to Vaughn’s.

Recently, one former athlete said he alerted Coach Bo Schembechler to the abuse in 1982. He said Schembechler told the player to alert the schools’ athletic director, Don Canham.

There is no record that Schembechler nor Canham ever did anything to Anderson, who remained at the university until 2003. He died five years later.

"Honestly I just felt like, how could he not know?" Vaughn said of Schembechler.

“If Bo held me responsible for my actions as a student athlete at the University of Michigan, then Bo as well as the university should be accountable for their actions,” Vaughn said.

Schembechler died in 2006.

Vaughn has joined scores of others in lawsuits against the university, alleging it protected its brand instead of its students.

“You’re seen as a product. A product that provides an athletic service for the greater good of the university. But at the end of the day, Jon Vaughn was a number, not a person.