In July of 2018, Robert Stone, an alumnus from the University of Michigan, wrote a letter to the school detailing incidents of sexual abuse and misconduct by U of M’s former physician Robert E. Anderson.
After that, several more U of M alumni came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct by Anderson.
U of M claims that Stone’s letter was the first time they were alerted to allegations of sexual abuse by Anderson.
The evidence tells a different story.
An Improper Response to Allegations of Abuse
While U of M claims that it did not know about Anderson’s abuse until July of 2018, Stone states that a U of M detective told him that Anderson was moved from his post as head of the school’s Student Health Service due to repeated sex abuse complaints.
For example, in 1979, Anderson was allegedly fired for “fooling around with male students.” Yet, after this incident, Anderson remained with the university for over two decades.
Soon after getting fired from his post in 1979, Anderson was moved to the Athletic Department in 1980, where he was allowed access to athletes who needed mandatory physicals or treatment.
We know that, in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, Anderson’s conduct was well-known among wrestlers and the wrestling team, as well as among football players, football staff, trainers, and coaches alike. Athletes in these sports were mandated to go see Anderson as part of their training. These athletes were made to feel as though they could not speak up; they were told to go along with the abuse, almost as if it was “a right of passage.” Athletes also knew their scholarships were in jeopardy if they did not remain quiet about the abuse.
Aside from the wrestlers and members of the football team, Anderson targeted the following groups:
- Pilots who needed medical clearances for their licenses
- Local businesses that required physical exams for employees
- Gay people
- Athletes including hockey players, gymnasts, track team members, golfers, divers and swimmers
Specific U of M staff members are now under scrutiny for dismissing or mishandling allegations of sexual misconduct made against Anderson, including the school’s current athletic director Warde Manuel who was on the football team while Anderson was the team’s doctor. Manuel is under fire for directing a report of abuse to university lawyers rather than to their sexual assault team, per U of M policy.
Additionally, Paul W. Schmidt, the school’s current assistant athletic director, was told by a survivor in the 1980s about Anderson’s prolonged genital examination. When Schmidt, who was a football trainer at the time, heard the allegation, he allegedly told the survivor to “get used to it.”
Later, in the 1990s, a woman brought forth a lawsuit against Anderson for sexual abuse and misconduct. Although the case was eventually dismissed, it’s highly unlikely that the university did not hear about the suit.
Therefore, it’s safe to assume that U of M knew about Anderson’s abuse for decades and failed to take the proper measures to protect its students. The school should be held accountable for this negligence.
If you or someone you love suffered at the hands of Anderson, our Michigan sexual abuse attorneys are here to help.
At Grewal Law PLLC, we have the experience and resources needed to hold sexual abusers accountable for their crimes. We represented one-third of the survivors in the Larry Nassar and MSU litigation and helped them obtain justice with a $500 million settlement.
We’re prepared to do the same for you.
Contact Grewal Law PLLC today at (888) 211-5798 to discuss your options with one of our experienced attorneys.