Amid another University of Michigan (U-M) sexual assault scandal, the son of legendary football coach Bo Schembechler has come forward with allegations that his father knew of former U-M doctor Robert Anderson's sexual misconduct but actively prevented his termination.
Now 62 years old, the son, Matt Schembechler, told The Detroit News that he was sexually assaulted by Anderson at age 10. He had visited Anderson for a physical exam, as he was playing in a youth football league at the time. When he got home and told his father what happened, Bo "went into a rage, told him he didn't want to hear about it and punched him in the chest so hard that he flew across the kitchen floor," The Detroit News reported.
Matt said his mother reached out to Don Canham, the U-M athletic director at the time, after his father failed to act. Canham terminated Anderson almost immediately. However, Bo convinced Canham to reinstate him, saying he needed Anderson to stay team doctor.
"Bo's mantra: 'The team, The team.' The team came first," Attorney Manvir "Mick" Grewal of Grewal Law PLLC, who is representing Matt, told The Detroit News. "The brand came first. Michigan came first ahead of students, athletes — and his own son."
To date, over 800 people have accused Anderson of committing sexual assault during medical exams. Matt's own account pushes back the date of when U-M was first informed of Anderson's misconduct by an entire decade. It was formerly thought that Thomas Easthope, former associate vice president for student services, was one of the first U-M officials to hear of Anderson's misconduct in 1979. In 2018, Easthope reportedly told a police investigator that although he fired Anderson due to what he heard, Anderson was soon promoted. Easthope passed away earlier this year.
It is true that Matt had a strained relationship with Bo, who died in 2006. Attorney Grewal asserts that this fact does not change how Bo covered up Anderson's misconduct for years.
"Bo went to bat for Anderson and got him back working again," Matt told ESPN. "He wasn't going to have anybody change his team."
Holding U-M Accountable for Covering Up Sexual Abuse
Grewal Law PLLC is proudly representing sexual assault and abuse survivors in their lawsuits against U-M. It is clear the administration knew of the harm Anderson was doing to his patients, yet it failed to take action. Instead, it fostered a culture of silence, condoning Anderson's misconduct. If you or a loved one has been harmed by Anderson, we will help you hold U-M accountable.
Call our award-winning Michigan attorneys today at (888) 211-5798 for a free, confidential consultation. We can also be reached via an online contact form.