University of Michigan Reaches Agreement on Sexual Abuse Settlement

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The late Dr. Robert Anderson was once a football team doctor at the University of Michigan (UMich) from the late 1960s to the early 2000s. One thousand two-hundred individuals implicated Dr. Anderson in sexual abuse while under his medical care at the college. Years after his death, the University of Michigan reached a $490 million sexual abuse settlement.

Anderson earned a medical degree at UMich in 1953. He started his career at the college as an associate physician in 1966. and changed to the college’s team physician within the athletic department in 1967. Then in 1968, Dr. Anderson was named Director of University Health Services.

“Former students and athletes say Anderson subjected them to unnecessary hernia and prostate exams that included genital fondling during routine physicals,” according to MLive.

University of Michigan
Courtesy of mei-wen sun (Flickr CC0)

In 1975, the first report of something strange came to light when UMich wrestler Tad DeLuca wrote a letter to his coach, Bill Johannesen, and Atheltic Director Don Canham about Dr. Anderson’s unusual behavior. In the letter, DeLuca claimed that something was wrong with Dr. Anderson because he made them drop their pants anytime someone went to see him. It did not seem to matter why the athlete initially went to see the doctor.

After years of misconduct and reports from several students, the University of Michigan reached a sexual abuse settlement agreement. Even after the first account of sexual abuse in 1975, Dr. Anderson continued to work at the university. Somehow he was allowed to continue his tenure at the UMich in various positions.

Associate vice president of student services Thomas Easthope tried to get Dr. Anderson fired in 1980 after hearing the allegations. His request was pushed to the side and overruled. Then in 1981, Dr. Anderson became a senior physician in UMich’s athletic department after the claims and firing attempt by his co-worker Easthope.

In March 2006, Dr. Anderson passed away at home from pulmonary fibrosis. The issues of sexual abuse were never thoroughly investigated throughout his decades of employment at the UMich. Several years later, the University of Michigan established sexual abuse settlement after the accused died.

Written by Lionel Carter
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


AP News: U. of Michigan reaches $490M settlement over sexual abuse; by Mike Householder and Larry Lage
ESPN News: University of Michigan reaches $490 million settlement in Robert Anderson abuse case; by Dan Murphy
M Live: Timeline of the Dr. Robert Anderson abuse scandal at University of Michigan; by Samuel Dodge

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Dennis Sparks’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Insert Image Courtesy of mei-wen sun’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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