Former Athletes Sue University of Michigan Over Past Abuse

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A Sunday lawsuit against the University of Michigan Board of Regents was filed on behalf of 10 former Michigan athletes who allege they were assaulted by former university doctor Robert E. Anderson.

According to The Detroit News, the lawsuit demands a jury trial for plaintiffs that include Mike Robinson, a center for the Michigan men’s basketball team in 1977-78, and nine other former athletes.


Robinson alleged Anderson gave him rectal exams twice during physicals.

"Anderson’s exam technique was physically rigorous and uncomfortable for Robinson," according to the lawsuit, which was obtained by The Detroit News. "Anderson did not appear concerned about performing the exam as gently as possible. Robinson felt unsettled after the exams. However, he believed them to be legitimate medical examinations that were required by the University in order for him to play basketball."

Related content: Ex-Wrestler Files First Lawsuit in Michigan Abuse Case

Allegations against Anderson — who worked at Michigan from 1968 until 2003 and died in 2008 —  have been coming out since 2018, when a letter to current athletic director Warde Manuel prompted an investigation and numerous lawsuits alleging that Anderson abused more than 400 athletes. The lawsuits allege the athletes reported the abuse to multiple athletic trainers, while former football coach Bo Schembechler and athletic director Don Canham allegedly allowed Anderson access after being told he was a sexual predator.

Related content: Lawsuit: Bo Schembechler Knew of UM Doctor Abuse

"The University of Michigan showed more than deliberate indifference by placing Robinson under Anderson’s care," Sunday’s lawsuit says. "The University betrayed Robinson in the most extreme possible manner. If UM had exercised the slightest degree of care for Plaintiffs and other persons on the sports teams Anderson treated, the University never would have exposed Robinson or any other Plaintiff to Anderson or any other physician with a history of sexually assaulting his patients.”


The University of Michigan has reportedly attempted to contact nearly 7,000 former athletes as part of the ongoing investigation, which is being conducted by law firm Wilmer Hale. In May, the Detroit Free Press reported that the University of Michigan admitted Anderson sexually assaulted students, but said that the lawsuits must be dismissed.

"Plaintiff’s claims — which involve a perpetrator who has been dead for 12 years, who has not been employed by the University for 17 years, and who assaulted him decades ago — are barred by the three-year statute of limitations," the lawyers said.

Related content: Michigan Contacting Thousands About Medical Abuse

The plaintiffs in Sunday’s lawsuit don’t believe that Michigan’s actions were enough to avoid legal action.

"The University’s words quickly proved hollow,” the lawsuit says, according to The Detroit News. “The Counsel for Plaintiffs recently invited the University to discuss a possible settlement between Plaintiffs and the University. The University declined to discuss settlement with Plaintiffs. Despite all the compassionate words of Michigan’s President, the Chairman of its Regents, and Michigan’s lawyers (who were simultaneously urging the court to throw out the lawsuits of other victims), the University slammed the door shut on Plaintiffs."

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