Doctor's Decades of Abuse to Cost University of Michigan $490M

Settlement reached over sex assaults at hands of Dr. Robert Anderson
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 19, 2022 11:32 AM CST
University of Michigan Settles With 1K People Over Doctor's Abuse
This undated file photo shows Dr. Robert E. Anderson.   (Robert Kalmbach/Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan via AP)

(Newser) – The University of Michigan has agreed to a $490 million settlement with more than 1,000 people, mostly men, who say they were sexually assaulted by Dr. Robert Anderson during his nearly four-decade career as a sports doctor at the school. The university on Wednesday said 1,050 people will share in the settlement, which was reached through mediation. Individuals and their attorneys will determine how to split $460 million with no input from the university, the school said in a statement. An additional $30 million will be set aside for future claims.

"We hope this settlement will begin the healing process for survivors," said Jordan Acker, chair of the University of Michigan Board of Regents. "At the same time, the work that began two years ago, when the first brave survivors came forward, will continue." The very first brave survivor isn't having it. Tad DeLuca, the whistleblower whose letter to Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel alleging sexual assault sparked an investigation into Anderson, found no joy in the settlement and said it won't address deeper issues.

"The settlement is going to gloss things over so Michigan can go back to having a glossy block 'M' and look wonderful for the world, but the situation on campus is horrible," DeLuca said in a telephone interview with the AP Wednesday morning. Anderson worked at the university from 1966 until his 2003 retirement and was director of the university’s Health Service and a physician for multiple athletic teams, including football. A number of football players and other athletes have come forward to accuse Anderson, who died in 2008, of sexually abusing them. A report by a firm hired by the school determined that staff missed many opportunities to stop Anderson over his 37-year career. (A famed coach's son says he told his dad of the abuse in 1969.)

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