Michigan Fires Law Firm with Polanski, Epstein Ties | Athletic Business

Michigan Fires Law Firm with Polanski, Epstein Ties

The University of Michigan announced it has replaced a law firm hired to conduct an independent, outside review into sexual abuse allegations against late team physician Robert Anderson.

As reported by mlive.com, a statement from university president Mark Schlissel and the Board of Regents said lawyers in the firm “once represented prominent clients who were accused of sexual misconduct.”

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

After speaking with victims, UM officials felt it could discourage former patients of Anderson to come forward.

“As a result, we have decided to engage in a different firm to complete the investigation, while working to ensure a smooth transition and continue the progress we have made,” the statement said.

Schlissel and the regents apologized “for the pain caused by the failures of our beloved university” in connection with Anderson. They said they were committed to “the thorough, independent and transparent investigation launched by an external firm into the disgraceful behavior that has been reported.”

An investigation into Anderson began in 2018, when former UM wrestler Tad Deluca sent a letter to athletic director Warde Manuel detailing instances of sexual assault. Deluca said he was given unnecessary hernia, penis and prostate checks during physical exams.

A 2015 media release from Steptoe and Johnson said attorney Reid Weingarten represented film director Roman Polanski, who was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl in the 1970s.

The Associated Press reported last year that Weingarten also represented Jeffrey Epstein, who was awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges involving underage girls.

Rachel Denhollander, a sexual assault survivor who helped expose former Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar’s widespread misconduct, responded via Twitter to UM’s statement, saying the university has taken small steps, but there was more to be done.

“Being willing to change direction is a step. Recognizing that survivors won’t trust firms that defend pedophiles and abusers is a step. Let’s learn from this and get a good firm in place, NOT under privilege,” Denhollander wrote, as mlive.com reported. “There are a whole lot more steps to take.”

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