Sexual Abuse – University of Michigan Dr. Robert Anderson
The University of Michigan (UM) began gathering complaints from former students who were sexually assaulted by Dr. Robert Anderson, a physician employed by UM from 1968 until 2003. More than 100 reports from former student-patients allege that Dr. Anderson engaged in sexual abuse during the time he was employed by UM. A former wrestler was the first victim to file a federal lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that the wrestler was assaulted on at least 35 occasions between 1984 and 1989.
Victims claim that UM provided Anderson a forum to perpetuate sexual abuse against vulnerable students – and then continued to ignore clear warning signs that he was molesting patients. A 91-page police report describes an alarming pattern of abuse by the former doctor and numerous accounts of administrators who knew of or should have known of the sexual abuse.
At least three UM staff members were aware of allegations against Anderson that date back decades ago. Former Vice President of Student Life Tom Easthope reported that dozens of men made claims that Dr. Anderson engaged in abusive behavior under the guise of medical care. Although Easthope believed that Anderson would resign, he continued his employment at UM until retiring in 2003. Former Athletic Director Warde Manuel also received a letter from a UM student wrestler stating that Anderson performed unnecessary examinations on him when he sought assistance for an injured elbow. In addition, a nurse practitioner at the UM health facility admitted to hearing rumors about Dr. Anderson sexually abusing patients. Rumors of Anderson’s conduct, including performing unnecessary rectal and testicular exams were so widespread that he earned nicknames among many athletes referencing his behavior. Anderson was involved in lawsuits in 1989 and 1995; those lawsuits were subsequently dismissed.
Although Dr. Anderson died in 2008 and never faced criminal charges, UM remains liable for the actions of its employee. Schools and universities have a duty to protect the students under their care. Schools must provide a safe environment where students are not endangered. Where schools employ deficient hiring or retention practices, fail to enforce reasonable measures to prevent abuse, or fail to implement action once they know or become aware of reports of molestation by employees, they can be held liable for negligence.
New legislation extending the statute of limitations for sexual abuse has been enacted in many states throughout the country. These laws allow victims to bring claims for sexual abuse that occurred decades ago that were previously barred under the statute of limitations.
Levy Konigsberg LLP is a nationally recognized law firm that has recovered millions of dollars for victims of sexual abuse. We have resolved claims for sexual abuse that occurred both recently and decades ago. If you or a member of your family has been the victim of sexual abuse, please contact our lawyers for a free consultation by calling 1-800-225-9825 or submit an email inquiry on this page.