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Stateside Podcast: $490 million settlement for Anderson abuse survivors

Jon Vaughn stands outside a stately white house next to a red camping chair
April Baer
Michigan Radio
Former U of M football player and Anderson abuse survivor Jon Vaughn has sat in protest outside the university president's Ann Arbor house for more than 100 days.

The University of Michigan has reached a settlement with survivors of Dr. Robert Anderson, a physician who worked in sports medicine and the University health system for 37 years and is accused of sexually abusing more than a thousand students.

Anderson died in 2008, but he’s left a devastating legacy, with stories of the physical and emotional abuse suffered by the survivors. People ranging from famous football players to anonymous undergrads have told of encounters with Anderson, and the consequences he had on their health and wellbeing.

Kim Kozlowski is a reporter for the Detroit News, who has been covering both the Anderson case as well as the Larry Nassar abuse scandal at Michigan State University. And she says the survivors' stories and historic settlements in both cases, which were each around half a billion dollars, do seem to have pushed change at the state's largest public universities.

"I do think that there has been a movement to try and change cultures and both of the campuses so that these don't happen again," she said. "And the movement is encompassing those who are involved, allies and people within the institution and community."

Attorney Mick Grewal, who is representing some of the Anderson survivors in this case, agrees.

"I actually believe, you know, the settlement actually represents a victory for all survivors of sexual abuse, and it's an important step in obtaining transparency, accountability and justice."

Grewal also represented more than 100 survivors of Dr. Larry Nassar in settlement negotiations with Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics.

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April Van Buren is a producer for <i>Stateside</i>. She produces interviews for air as well as web and social media content for the show.