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University of Michigan reaches $490M settlement with survivors of Dr. Robert Anderson

Posted at 8:31 AM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 08:31:41-05

(WXYZ) — The University of Michigan will pay $490 million to those who say they were sexually abused by the late Dr. Robert Anderson. That's according to sources who confirmed the number to FOX 17's sister station 7 Action News in Detroit.

More than 1,000 people over the course of decades say they were abused by Anderson, who was a sports doctor at the university. The abuse allegedly started at the time Anderson was hired at the university in 1966 and continued until he retired in 2003.

The money is less than Michigan State University paid out to survivors of Dr. Larry Nassar. The university settled for $500 million, paid out to more than 500 women. USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee also settled for $380 million with Nassar survivors.

Related: Students were 'sacrificed on the altar of the block M,' says doctor's new accuser

According to the law firm, the settlement also sets aside $30 million for future claims of abuse.

The allegations of sexual abuse by Anderson came to light in July 2018 when Tad DeLuca wrote a letter to U-M Athletic Director Warde Manuel. Anderson died in 2008.

In May 2021, a report commissioned by the university from WilmerHale Law Firm was released. It found credible allegations of sexual abuse between 1966 and 2003.

A report commissioned by the University of Michigan lays out a disturbing history of abuse to students and student-athletes at the hands of Dr. Robert Anderson that spanned decades at the school.

Some of the revelations included in the report may be disturbing to some readers.

The allegations laid out in the report include various incidents of sexual abuse, including unnecessary hernia checks, pelvic examinations, and rectal and prostate examinations, as well as incidents of fondling male patients until they ejaculated. The also included incidents where Anderson had the patients perform such acts on his own body. The report states that these incidents were done under the guise of demonstrating how to perform such examinations.

In their investigation, WilmerHale found that university personnel were informed about Anderson's misconduct at several different times and from multiple sources and no action was taken to prevent such abuse from continuing. The report also states that "almost immediately" after Anderson arrived at the university rumors began spreading about his "inappropriate and unnecessary examinations of a sensitive nature."

The report says these rumors were so widespread that roughly half of the patients who reported negative experiences to the investigators said they were away for the rumors or jokes about them either before or after their own experiences.

The jokes included nicknames given to Dr. Anderson by student-athletes, among whom he had a reputation for performing genital or rectal examinations no matter the reason for their visit. The report quotes these nicknames as including“Handy Andy,” “Goldfinger,” “Dr. Handerson,” and “Dr. Drop Your Drawers Anderson,” among others.

However, the report also found incidents where the university was directly informed of abusive conduct and did nothing to stop them. One such occasion came in 1975 when a student-athlete informed the wrestling coach that regardless of the reason for the visit, Dr. Anderson would ask the patient to drop their drawers and cough. WilmerHale found no evidence these complaints were looked into.

You can read the full report below:

WH Anderson Report by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd