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Multiple UM players alerted Bo Schembechler to doctor's improper touching, report says

Bo Schembechler
Posted at 10:03 AM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 10:03:40-04

(WXYZ) — Multiple players at the University of Michigan reported alleged inappropriate touching at the hands of Dr. Robert Anderson to legendary football coach Bo Schembechler. That's according to a report released by WilmerHale Law Firm on Wednesday.

The law firm conducted an investigation and found credible allegations of abuse over the course of decades, from the time Anderson was hired at the university in 1966 until he retired in 2003.

Related: Report on U of M's Robert Anderson details decades of sexual abuse, lack of school response

According to the report, a member of the football team told investigators that Anderson gave him a rectal exam and fondled his testicles during a pre-participating physical examination (PPE).

The report said that the same member told investigators he informed Schembechler that he didn't want to get any future exams, but Schembechler told him that PPEs were required to play football.

"The patient continued to see Dr. Anderson and made no further reports about Dr. Anderson’s misconduct," the report said.

Another student-athlete told WilmerHale that Anderson played with his genitalia during an examination in 1982 and that he told Schembechler that it happened and he didn't agree with the type of exam that was done.

"Mr. Schembechler reportedly told the student-athlete that he would look into it, but the student-athlete never heard anything further about it," the report reads.

According to the report, there were two other instances of alleged inappropriate touching that were reported to Schembechler.

One, in the late 1970s, is when a football team member told the university in the late 1970s that Anderson fondled his testicles and gave him a rectal exam. The athlete allegedly told DPSS he asked Schembechler, "what's up with the finger in the butt treatment by Dr. Anderson," and Schembechler allegedly said he was told to "toughen up." That student-athlete declined an interview request from WilmerHale.

In another lawsuit against the university, a student-athlete said in the early 1980s that Anderson gave the student a rectal exam at least three times, and he reported it to Schembechler. In the suit, Schembechler allegedly said to go to the AD, and the patient said he did so twice. The student-athlete's attorney declined to allow his client to be interviewed.

In the footnote of the report, WilmerHale said, "multiple University personnel who worked with Mr. Schembechler told us that had he been aware of Dr. Anderson’s misconduct with patients, he would not have tolerated it."

The university also released a statement that reads:

"To All Members of the Campus Community:

"The University of Michigan offers its heartfelt apology for the abuse perpetrated by the late Robert Anderson (deceased in 2008).

Today, we received WilmerHale’s 240-page report at the same time it was released publicly. The report is available on the U-M Board of Regents website. We will thoughtfully and diligently review and assess the report’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations; and we will work to regain the trust of survivors and to assure that we foster a safe environment for our students, our employees, and our community."

Last July, we covered a lawsuit that alleged Schembechler knew of Anderson's abuse.

Glenn E. "Shemy" Schembechler, Bo's son, said in July he believes his dad wouldn't have covered it up.

"Bo was not one of these people to hide secrets like this," he said. "When he saw something that was wrong, he would've fixed it right then and there."

"I was in junior high school when this supposedly happened, and for Bo to go through our entire lives, basically half my life, not saying anything to me, all the way up until his passing in 2006, I just find it unfathomable."