Reports have surfaced that a University of Michigan physician allegedly sexually abused patients throughout his employment as the Director of University Health Sciences and athletic team physician. These allegations echo similar college sexual abuse scandals that have rocked other renowned institutions and athletic programs across the country. Within the past decade, sexual abuse scandals have shaken schools like Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State, and University of Southern California to their core.
Until recently, U-M’s inquiry into the alleged abuse by Anderson unraveled behind closed doors while other institutions across the country grappled with sexual abuse committed by physicians on their campuses. At the University of Michigan, employees, students, alumnus, and parents were shocked with the startling news that a University employed physician allegedly abused students throughout his tenure at the institution. Robert E. Anderson was employed at the University of Michigan as a doctor from 1968 to 2003. In July 2018, a former University of Michigan student athlete came forward with details of abuse that occurred during medical exams conducted by Robert Anderson in the early 1970s. These allegations spurred an investigation by the U-M Police and U-M Office for Institutional Equity. During the investigation, other former patients of Anderson described “sexual misconduct and unnecessary medical exams” and unveiled more abuse that allegedly occurred during Anderson’s tenure.
A former Olympic and U-M wrestler came forward detailing abuse from his freshman year in 1998 that occurred during medical exams with Anderson. The Olympic wrestler stated that “[he] was warned about [Dr. Anderson] from teammates, saying ‘If anything happens and you go to the doctor, he’s going to inappropriately touch you, that’s just what Dr. A does.” As the first athlete to publicly come forward, the former wrestler that finished as one of the few best athletes in the university’s history hopes to encourage others to come forward and “let [their] voice be heard.”
Thus far, the allegations that were reported have detailed abuse from the 1970s to as late as the 1990s. The University has now asked former patients of Anderson to contact the U-M Compliance Hotline if they believe they were subjected to sexual abuse during a medical exam. Additionally, an independent, outside review is being conducted by a Washington D.C. law firm to determine the full scale of abuse that allegedly occurred.
What Does the University Say?
Since U-M’s press release, more than five survivors have publicly come forward to detail abuse during Anderson’s medical exams and many have begun calling the U-M hotline to detail their encounters.
Officials at U-M have acknowledged that university employees were aware of the accusations against Anderson prior to the July 2018 complaint that led to an investigation. Yet, despite prior knowledge, no action was taken against the late physician who died in 2008.
In coming forward with reports against Robert E. Anderson, survivors are further illuminating the depth of the problem with U-M’s and other institutions’ failure to get a handle on things. These U-M allegations, in the wake of U-M’s suspension of its Provost following sexual misconduct allegations, echo other high-profile abuse that has occurred at other prestigious athletic programs and institutions across the country. The reality is the effects of trauma from sexual abuse are long lasting, devastating, painful, and shocking to survivors, families, and other members of the community. University officials need to take these allegations seriously and protect the interests of their students, OUR children, not their athletic programs and prestige.
How Can We Help You
The attorneys of Wright & Schulte are helping survivors of sexual abuse and assault seek justice and compensation from the institutions that failed to protect them. Our attorneys work every day to preserve the rights of survivors one case and one client at a time. If you or a loved one are a survivor of sexual abuse and assault and are looking for a law firm that will guarantee the caring, personalized, and loyal representation you deserve, please do not hesitate to contact the sexual assault and abuse attorneys at Wright & Schulte today.
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