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11 lawsuits filed against University of Michigan as 70+ people allege sexual abuse at hands of former doctor

Robert Anderson died in 2008

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – More than 70 people allege that a now-deceased University of Michigan doctor sexually abused them.

Robert E. Anderson was a former director of University Health Service and a former athletic team physician. He worked at the school from 1968 until his retirement in 2003. He died in 2008.

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan shows Dr. Robert E. Anderson. A University of Michigan hotline has received more than 100 unique complaints about Dr. Anderson, a late physician accused of sexual abuse by former patients, including athletes who encountered him as a team doctor, the school announced Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. He died in 2008. (Robert Kalmbach/Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan via AP)
FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan shows Dr. Robert E. Anderson. A University of Michigan hotline has received more than 100 unique complaints about Dr. Anderson, a late physician accused of sexual abuse by former patients, including athletes who encountered him as a team doctor, the school announced Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. He died in 2008. (Robert Kalmbach/Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan via AP)

The first lawsuit was filed this week in U.S. District Court. A former college wrestler is suing the university, claiming the school knew that Anderson sexually abused him in the 1980s.

The suit identifies the victim as John Doe. Attorney Mike Cox said all lawsuits will keep the victims’ identities confidential.

So far, 11 lawsuits have been filed. Cox said nine more are likely coming. He has had about 20 men come forward to say they were victimized by Anderson.

“They’re Michigan men through and maize and blue through and through,” Cox said “Many of them were prominent athletes in the sport of wrestling, football and hockey.”

A law firm out of Denver has had about 60 people contact them to claim the doctor abused them. Those victims are opting not to sue at this point.

“Our clients include both men as well as women, teens and adults, that saw Dr. Anderson at a standalone clinic, medical students as well as residents, past and current employees of the university,” attorney Parker Stinar said.

The Denver law firm has also been contacted by many athletes.

“We represent a number of different athletes including members of the baseball teams, track and field, swimming, wrestling, hockey, including an individual who played in the NHL, as well as members of the football team, including a member of the 1997 championship team and an individual who played professional football," Stinar said.

So far, no one has named a dollar amount that they think would be an appropriate settlement.

There are two differing legal strategies on how to approach this, but all the lawyers agree on this: They advise against calling the hotline the university has set up -- it connects you with an attorney working on behalf of the university.


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