The University Insider is The Daily’s first faculty and staff-oriented newsletter. This weekly newsletter will give U-M faculty and staff the ability to see the most important issues on campus and in Ann Arbor — particularly those related to administrative decisions — from the perspective of an independent news organization. It will also provide a better understanding of student perspectives.
Jonathan Vaughn shared a press release on March 11 announcing he hired a private investigation company based in southern California, GET BIT, to investigate allegations that the University of Michigan “sanctioned” a study by Dr. Robert Anderson that researched the sperm of “elite athletes.” The press release alleges Anderson forced athletes to provide sperm samples and illegally sold the sperm to unknowing parties. According to GET BIT, the Private Investigator company is handling the case pro-bono.
In May 2021, WilmerHale, an independent law firm hired by the University to investigate allegations of sexual assault against Anderson, found that hundreds of the allegations are credible. The report also stated that several University officials were aware of Anderson’s misconduct.
University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald wrote in an email to The Michigan Daily that WilmerHale didn’t find evidence of the new allegations against Anderson.
“While the WilmerHale report contains references to Anderson’s interest in male reproductive health, including the collection of semen samples, the investigative team found no evidence of the activities alleged in the press release you cite,” Fitzgerald wrote.
Fitzgerald added that the University provided many documents and pieces of evidence to the WilmerHale investigation, but he did not directly respond to inquiries about the University participation in the GET BIT investigation.
“It’s also worth noting that the university provided WilmerHale with unfettered access to more than 200 individuals, 2 million documents from the Bentley Historical Library, 125 boxes of paper personnel files and tens of thousands of other documents.”
According to Luis Bolaños, founder of GET BIT Investigations and the private investigator for Vaughn’s case, the “Hail to the Victims” investigation is considered a criminal investigation.
Bolaños said he reached out to Vaughn about conducting an investigation when he saw a headline about Anderson and was reminded of a 2020 lawsuit in California that was filed against a late sheriff who was found to have been involved in one of the largest child molestation and sexual assault cases.
“I had no idea what was happening in Michigan,” Bolaños said. “I’ve never heard of Jon. I had no idea who he was. I had no idea of Dr. Anderson and the allegations against him. But between (Anderson and Duffy), there are thousands and thousands of victims, so that’s why I first heard about it and (what) made me want to reach out to (Vaughn) and talk to him a little more.”
Vaughn said he decided to work with GET BIT because he and other survivors are still looking for answers.
“There were two times specifically I remember offhanded comments where Dr. Robert Anderson said (he was) trying to figure out how to create the perfect Black athlete,” Vaughn said.
Vaughn said he began his personal investigation into his and other allegations against Anderson in 2020 after hearing similar stories from other survivors.
“This is something that I have been investigating since early into the mediation process, (which) dates back to probably September or October of 2020,” Vaughn said. “It was just very clear to me and to several of us survivors that there was an issue with the location of not only our medical reports, but we got several stories that they were destroyed or they kept them for 10 years and then destroyed (them) or they don’t exist.”
Bolaños said GET BIT and Vaughn are working with Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment (PAVE) to schedule virtual and in-person press conferences surrounding this issue.
PAVE founder Angela Rose told The Daily she was inspired to start this organization after she was abducted and assaulted by a repeat sex offender when she was 17. Rose said PAVE is working on setting up a half-day virtual summit dedicated to supporting male survivors.
“People knew that these things were happening (and) I don’t know if they just don’t know what to say, or do, or if their moral compass is broken or who knows what the reason, but there are a lot of men in a lot of pain right now and so I feel like it’s our job to try and do something proactive,” Rose said.
Bolaños encouraged anybody with any information pertaining to the investigation and survivors of Dr. Anderson to call GET BIT’s anonymous hotline: (833) 442-4452.
“We are looking for potential victims who, for part of their physical evaluation by Dr. Anderson, included obtaining their semen,” Bolaños said. “We want anybody that’s not aware of that to at least consider following up, because every single sample that was collected by Dr. Anderson needs to be accounted for … and we’re working at fine tuning a method so that people can have comfort in confirming or denying if they have kids out there that they’re completely unaware of.”
This article has been updated to clarify the private investigator was hired pro-bono
Daily Staff Reporter Anna Fifelski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.