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Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Filed Against University of Michigan and Robert Anderson, M.D.

Were you injured in a sexual assault involving Dr. Robert E. Anderson? If so, contact the sex abuse attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) for immediate legal advice on filing a compensation claim or participating in a class-action lawsuit.

Let our law firm explain your rights and legal options and using the best strategy to pursue and resolve a sexual assault claim. Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a confidential consultation.

Robert Anderson M.D. Sex Abuse Cases Involving Former UM Student-Athletes

Several lawsuits named the University of Michigan (UM) in Ann Arbor as a defendant in cases involving the late Doctor Robert E Anderson, a former university health service physician and athletic doctor. Anderson faced accusations of sexually assaulting hundreds of student-athletes during his time at UM.

Between 1969 and 1980, the University of Michigan Health Service employed Doctor Anderson as a physician. The University then relocated the doctor to the athletics department, where he remained an athletic team physician until he retired in 2003.

The first official accusations made against Dr. Anderson occurred in 2020, 12 years after he died in 2008. In recent months, many more UM alumni have come forward, making additional allegations of sexual abuse by Anderson, adding their names to the University of Michigan Dr. Anderson investigation.

Atletes and Pilots Have Come Forward Alleging Sexual Abuse by Dr. Robert E. Anderson of The University of Michgan

Allegations of Sexual Abuse Have Surfaced Against Robert E. Anderson, M.D., of the University of Michigan

February 2020 – Official Announcement of Dr. Robert E Anderson Sexual Abuse Allegations

In February 2020, the University encouraged former UM students to use a compliance hotline to report any alleged abuse assault incident involving Anderson. This announcement was the first time the public was alerted to allegations made against Anderson.

The same month, the Washtenaw County prosecutor’s office serving Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Hudson Mills, York Charter Township, Manchester, Chelsea, Saline, Bridgewater, and other local communities, chose not to criminally charge

Dr. Robert Anderson or UM. The prosecutor’s office said that there was no possibility that they could prosecute the former UM doctor and failed to present a legal opinion on whether Anderson had committed a criminal offense.

Days later, previously lawsuits against Dr. Robert Anderson filed in the late 1980s, and early 1990s revealed that he had faced medical malpractice allegations involving groping a job applicant decades ago. Another case involved personal injury. Court records revealed that both cases were dismissed.

An extensive Ann Arbor University of Michigan police report revealed numerous incidents of sexual misconduct involving Dr. Robert Anderson performing unnecessary and prolonged prostate and hernia medical exams. One report revealed Anderson had performed unnecessary prostate exams on a student-athlete being treated for a dislocated elbow.

Dozens of Complaint Hotline Calls

The University of Michigan’s hotline received dozens of reports in the first two days with allegations of sexual misconduct involving Anderson. One former UM caller left a message saying that Doctor Robert Anderson was a “serial molester” who sexually molested him in 1971.

Police report information documented that several Ann Arbor UM administrators were aware of circulating rumors of the doctor’s misconduct when they were occurring. However, the University’s law enforcement officers interviewed dozens of individuals that had interacted with Robert E. Anderson, including football team trainers and coaches who did not speak negatively about the doctor.

During the investigation, a former Associate Vice President remembered firing the doctor in 1980. However, the University did not fire Dr. Robert Anderson but relocated him instead to the UM athletic department. The VP later became a subject of numerous filed civil lawsuits.

By the end of February 2020, two letters written by former wrestler Tad DeLuca to University of Michigan officials became public. Tad DeLuca had written one letter in 1975 while he was a student and the other decades later, in 2018.

Both letters alerted school officials about Anderson’s inappropriate behavior. Former wrestler Tad DeLuca shared the information about Anderson’s alleged sexual assault at a press conference with the University’s former wrestlers, Olympian Andy Hrovat and Thomas Evashevski.

March 2020 – A Hundred More Call Anderson Abuse Hotline

School officials received over a hundred more calls on the sex abuse hotline providing information about the University of Michigan and Dr. Anderson within the first few days of March 2020.

During the frenzy of news reports, lawyers representing sexual abuse survivors spoke on behalf of their clients, including a former National Hockey League player and former football player.

Eerily Similar Cases

One attorney who initiated a lawsuit, filed on behalf of a sexually abused survivor, saw the similarity with Doctor Robert Anderson and the number of sex abuse survivors involved in the Athletic Team Doctor Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal from Michigan State University.

Others believe that the allegations resemble charges filed against Ohio State University and Dr. Richard Strauss who used his position of trust and medical training to sexually abuse athletes and students. Strauss faced allegations in a civil lawsuit filed by more than 150 Ohio State student-athletes in a case eerily like the Nassar and Anderson lawsuits.

The Dr. Richard Strauss scandal was financially resolved through a $40.9 million negotiated settlement involving a dozen of the twenty-three lawsuits involving Strauss filed against OSU. He victimized OSU students between 1970 and 1989 while serving as the varsity sports team doctor. Strauss committed suicide in 2005.

The University Apologizes

By March 4, 2020, a former Michigan Attorney General filed the first federal sexual assault case involving Anderson, representing their client, a former University wrestler.

The document identifies the University of Michigan as a defendant alleging that Doctor Robert Anderson had sexually assaulted their client on nearly three dozen occasions, and school officials failed to protect students of his inappropriate behavior.

Some of the attorneys representing former students in numerous lawsuits asked Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel to investigate alleged crimes involving the late doctor and University.

Within the first week of March, additional sex abuse survivors had come forward with some of Athletic Team Doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual assault victims asking the University of Michigan not to use the same playbook and strategy that Michigan State University used while investigating Nassar.

By mid-March, a University of Michigan Regent announced that Dr. Robert Anderson had sexually assaulted him between 1963 and 1967 while he was a UM student.

The current Michigan Attorney General indicated that the State would only investigate the allegations if the University of Michigan fully cooperates. Her strategy will ensure the University commits to full transparency and waives its attorney-client privileges to ensure the investigation’s success.

The Board of Regents and the University apologized to sexually abused survivors for the “pain caused by the failures of our beloved University.” They shared their gratefulness to alumni members holding the university responsible for past unacceptable behavior.

Local news stations obtained additional police reports under the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act), indicating that the late University of Michigan Dr. Anderson might have been employed by the Ann Arbor Public School System. However, there are conflicting reports without sufficient evidence.

One attorney speaking of the comparison between the Nassar scandal and University of Michigan Dr. Anderson lawsuits says she believes that this case might involve “thousands of men” compared to the hundreds of women harmed by Larry Nassar.

By the end of March, law enforcement reports revealed interviews with trainers identified in a lawsuit filed against the University and Doctor Robert Anderson. The suit alleges that a former athletic trainer who serves as the current Assistant Athletic Director told a player reporting alleged sexual abuse by Anderson to “get used to that.”

Documents show that the Athletic Director spoke of Dr. Robert Anderson as a “personal friend” and “very credible doctor.”

Early Spring 2020 – Initial Court Rulings

By early April, the University of Michigan sent letters to nearly 7000 former student-athletes asking for information concerning the late doctor’s inappropriate sexual behavior. By late April, forty former student-athletes allegedly sexually abused by Dr. Robert Anderson stated they were required to see the doctor due to their athletic scholarship, making them particularly vulnerable.

At the end of April, the University of Michigan announced the development of an out-of-court reconciliation process to allow Robert E. Anderson sexually abused victims more certainty and “faster relief” than filing a lawsuit.

By early May, the University admitted that the doctor had sexually molested a student but argued that Anderson’s abuse case in federal court should be dismissed because it was not filed before the state statute of limitations expired. By mid-June, the University sent out another 300,000 letters to alumni athletes asking for more information concerning Anderson’s sexually abusive behavior.

Within a week, Judge Victoria Roberts from the U.S. District Court ruled that the University could not reach out to any alumni or others that could become a potential plaintiff involved in a class-action lawsuit. This ruling would likely restrict communication with every former UM student on campus during the late doctor’s tenure.

By the end of June 2020, the federal judge barred any communication between the University and any potential member involved in a Robert Anderson class-action lawsuit.

By the beginning of July, Jim Harbaugh, the current head football coach at the university, said that Robert Anderson was his family doctor before he was a teenager, indicating that he “never experienced anything inappropriate.”

By mid-July, University of Michigan Dr. Anderson’s first female alleged sexually assaulted survivor stated that he was the “coldest, meanest psychopath I’ve ever met.” The former University of Michigan student said that the doctor performed a medical exam recommending that she cut down her breast size because her breasts were apparently “so large that they would not be attractive or pleasant to men.”

One woman participating in the investigation was a former UM volleyball team member in 1982. She had a doctor’s appointment with Anderson for her mandatory physical examination. During the exam, the doctor fondled her breasts, asking her if she was sexually active.

A second woman sought Anderson the following year, requiring her to take her clothes off in front of him so he could perform a breast examination. During a pelvic and breast exam, he touched her genitals and breasts without wearing gloves and never provided medical advice or a diagnosis.

Early Fall 2020 – The University of Michigan Long Knew of Doctor Robert E Anderson’s Inappropriate Sexual Behavior

In October 2020, the Detroit News announced that they had conducted a comprehensive review of the late doctor’s personnel file. The file included his former boss’ deposition revealing that the University knew of Anderson’s inappropriate sexual misconduct at least twice during his tenure years before.

One report reveals that in 1979, UM was made aware of allegations of Anderson’s behavior and demoted him, allowing the doctor to continue treating University students.

A second allegation, documented in 1980, revealed the school officials giving the University of Michigan doctor one more chance to stop his inappropriate behavior while providing medical care to students as an Athletic Department team physician.

Detroit News investigative reporters received evidence by one of the doctor’s alleged abuse survivors involving a documented formal complaint he had signed nearly four decades earlier when he was a twenty-year-old UM student.

The document revealed a meeting at the end of May 1980 over concerns of Anderson’s medical examination. The former student told school officials that the doctor appeared to masturbate when the student’s pants were lowered.

The document reveals that Dr. Robert Anderson had apologized for what he had done to the young man under his medical care. The Associate Vice President for Student Services, Thomas Easthope, said the University considered firing the University of Michigan doctor but was concerned about his family if he became unemployed.

Instead, the Associate Vice President made a deal with the victim, stating he would relocate the sexually abusive doctor to an administrative position without contact with University students. The sexually abused victim was shocked years later to find out that Robert Anderson continued to treat students after the agreement with school officials.

A separate letter written by a former UM athlete, a now-former football player who participated in two Superbowls, initiated an investigation opened by University of Michigan campus police in July 2018. The letter was written to athletic Director Warde Manuel concerning Doctor Anderson sexually abusing students in the 1970s.

The former UM student and football player was just one of many sexually assaulted survivors who had come forward

Prosecutors Say the Statute of Limitations Has Expired

Reports indicate that many sexual molestation survivors never spoke up against Anderson’s abusive behavior due to anger, embarrassment, and shame. Many believe that the doctor violated his patients’ trust, using his medical degree and power of authority to abuse the innocent.

However, the county prosecutor’s office has stated that no criminal charges will be brought against Anderson a dozen years after his death, claiming that the Michigan statute of limitations has already passed. However, the doctor’s sexual abuse survivors have other legal options.

Former UM Sexual Abuse Survivor Implicates Canham and Schembechler

News reports reveal that former UM Athletic Director Don Canham and former head football coach Bo Schembechler were aware of students’ sex abuse allegations against Robert Anderson.

A press conference identified one of Anderson’s alleged abuse survivors claiming that Schembechler had no authority to address the doctor’s misconduct. The press release claimed that Canham was responsible for dealing with Anderson’s molestation charges, but did nothing. Both men have since died.

One anonymous plaintiff identified as John Doe EB-17 said that “Bo was powerless” over what occurred. The plaintiff stated that he reported experiencing migraines to Schembechler, who recommended he see Anderson.

During a doctor’s visit, Anderson digitally penetrated John Doe’s rectum under the pretense of providing medical treatment. The plaintiff said that a subsequent doctor’s visit also involved sexual abuse “in a quite different way, and that is when I knew that something was very, very wrong.”

The anonymous victim stated that “in my opinion, Canham perpetrated Anderson’s abuse” and “ruled that campus with an iron fist.” The plaintiff said that everyone was afraid of Canham, including the coaches and Board of Trustees.

The Road to Compensation

As early as May 2020, the University of Michigan admitted the sexual assaults by Doctor Anderson were egregious and have taken steps to pay his sex abuse survivors. However, school officials believe that the lawsuits should be dismissed while the University works to compensate the abused.

The University’s attorneys, the outside firm WilmerHale, said that the school campus understands the “sad reality that some of its students suffered sexual abuse at the hands of one of its former employees” and is “determined to acknowledge and reckon with that past and, to the extent possible, provide justice – including the form of monetary relief to Anderson’s survivors.”

A UM spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen said in April 2020 that the “university has confidence in the independent investigation now underway by the WilmerHale law firm. This firm has the deep expertise to conduct a thorough and unflinching review of the facts – wherever they may lead.”

By late April 2020, the University of Michigan was aware of over 250 individual complaints concerning Anderson’s abusive nature. By early 2021, that number had risen to well over 400. At least six women have made complaints.

FAQ’s Related to Athletic Coach Sexual Abuse Claims

Below are a few frequently asked questions related to sexual molestation lawsuits and claims involving coaches and trainers. We appreciate you likely have additional questions about your legal options and rights in pursuing justice against a coach or trainer.

Contact our law firm to schedule a free initial consultation and discuss how to prosecute a sexual abuse lawsuit against the sexual predator.

What Can I Do If a Coach Sexually Assaulted My Child?

Organize youth groups and sporting teams often lead children and young adults vulnerable to those in authority, including the coach, trainer, and others working for the institution. Typically, the sexual predator at school or in a youth organization is the coach, assistant coach, trainer, volunteer, parent, or another staff member.

Likely, the first step to take is to file a complaint with local law enforcement to expose the predator and seek justice through criminal charges. Second, a personal injury attorney specializing in sexual abuse cases can ensure your legal rights are protected when pursuing civil legal options against the perpetrator, institution, and others in charge of supervising the predator.

Do You Know the Signs That Your Child’s Coach May Be Abusive?

Sexual abuse has many red flags that a coach or other person in authority is sexually inappropriate toward children. Some of the common signs associated with child sexual misconduct include:

  • A child receiving gifts, money, and other goods from the coach not given to the other children,
  • A coach developing an unhealthy psychological attachment to a child and their success,
  • The person of authority inappropriately touching the child or making unsuitable comments on their appearance,
  • A toddler, child, tween, teen, or young adult purposely avoiding or showing fear when around specific individuals,
  • A child displaying age-inappropriate sexual behavior

My High School Coach Sexually Abused Me. What Actions Can I Take?

First, notify the police of what occurred to initiate an investigation and determine if the coach should be held criminally accountable. Next, speak to a personal injury attorney specializing in sexual abuse cases to discuss how to protect your rights and file a compensation claim, seeking justice through financial retribution.

An attorney working on your behalf can gather evidence, including documenting your account of what occurred, deposing all defendants, and reviewing medical records if available. A lack of physical evidence is not a roadblock to moving your case forward.

Will I Need to Confront a Perpetrator in a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit against a Coach?

Nearly all civil lawsuits and personal injury claims are resolved through a negotiated settlement outside of court. Typically, these cases never require providing evidence in front of a jury to determine if there is sufficient probable cause.

Likely, you will never confront your perpetrator and resolving a sexual abuse lawsuit. The coach, their employer, and other defendants named in the lawsuit will give their testimony through deposition in front of your lawyer and the defendants’ attorneys.

Hire a Sexual Assault Injury Lawyer

Are you or a loved one a victim of sexual abuse by University of Michigan Dr. Anderson or another predator? Contact our sexual abuse injury lawyers to schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights and legal options in filing your Robert Anderson M.D. sex abuse claim.

Our sexual molestation injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can provide advice and counsel to file and resolve a personal injury claim for maximum compensation. We can file a lawsuit against the doctor’s estate, University Health Service, the University of Michigan, school officials, teachers, coaches, and others.

Our law firm does not charge legal fees until after the compensation case is successfully resolved.

Anyone who lost a loved one from a preventable death has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages, including medical bills, lost past and future earnings, loss of companionship, funeral costs, pain, and suffering.

All information you and your loved ones share with our law firm will remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship. Our law firm currently follows CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Covid-19 guidelines on social distancing to ensure everyone’s well-being.

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