ANN ARBOR – At noon on Thursday, survivors of University of Michigan’s Dr. Robert E. Anderson and Michigan State University’s Larry Nassar, spoke to members of the press in Ann Arbor along with their attorneys.
They are demanding an attorney general investigation into the University of Michigan’s handling of Anderson’s sexual abuse that went on for decades.
Three men who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Dr. Anderson decades ago shared their stories, some for the first time publicly.
Robert Stone, the first survivor to come forward with his story to the press, spoke on Thursday and would not share details of his story, saying the experiences he underwent in Anderson’s office are too “disgusting” to say out loud.
“What happened in Ann Arbor is a horror story," said Stone. “And it went on for over 25 years. Serial sexual assaults conducted by Dr. Anderson in his exam room. The university allowed it to continue. They provided him a venue for the assaults, they gave him a very significant salary, and they provided him with a series of subjects that he could take advantage of.”
Stone shared that he wrote a letter to the university in August of 2018 detailing what he endured.
He ended his statement by saying, "I know there are men who went to their graves without ever having closure about their assault at the hands of Dr. Anderson and those men are never far from my thoughts.”
Fellow survivor JP DesCamp was neither a student nor an athlete at the University of Michigan at the time of his assault.
He was working for General Motors at the time, who referred him to Dr. Anderson where he endured a "seemingly eternal and humiliating physical exam” in order to keep his flight status.
“I was 22 years old and dutifully showed up at Dr. Anderson’s appointment in downtown Ann Arbor,” said DesCamp. “The examination started off normally. Things got weird when Dr. Anderson had me lay on his examination table, face up, while he took off my underwear.”
He said that Anderson performed an “intense rectal examination” with one hand and continued to fondle his genitals with the other hand. At the time, Anderson told him he was too nervous and “should get used to this routine examination.”
He never returned to see Dr. Anderson.
Later on, Dr. Anderson’s name came up when he was speaking with a line pilot at work. “He stated that none of the line pilots would ever go to Dr. Anderson for flight physicals." He told DesCamp they went to a “good guy in Plymouth" and paid out of pocket for the physicals.
Michael Connelley was 18 years old when he first saw Dr. Anderson.
“I went to see him for a sore throat and that’s when the abuse started," said Connelley. “I’m not going to go into it.”
He said the fallout of his experiences has had a lasting effect on his relationships and his personal life.
“I was forced to overcome obstacles I should have never encountered. I feel that by the time this is over, the number of victims will be staggering. I do not accept an apology from the Univeristy of Michigan because it’s coming way too little, way too late, and way not enough. The damage is done."
Nassar survivors speak out
Also present at the press conference were several female survivors of Larry Nassar, including attorney Sarah Klein who was just 8 years old when she first molested by the disgraced doctor.
“I am here because that is what my colleagues did for me and what we will do for these men,” said Klein. “We will make sure you are heard and we will make sure that the responsible parties are held to account.”
Many of the survivors drew comparisons to the Dr. Anderson and Larry Nassar cases.
“MSU showed the country and the world how not to treat survivors, how not to do it right," said Nassar survivor Kaylee Lorincz. “Look at the course of action that MSU took and do the exact opposite at every turn.”
Survivor Trinea Gonczar urged U-M’s leadership to be more transparent and accountable.
“Take this moment and be the better institution in Michigan,” said Gonczar. “You have an opportunity to be the leaders and the best. You can honor these survivors.”
John Manly, an attorney representing the men, called on the University of Michigan Board of Regents to do the right thing.
“You have a window to help your family and to make this right," said Manly. “Through that window are two paths. One, to the left, is the Michigan State path and that path leads to the destruction of your institution, your reputation (destroyed) ... That road involves a legal system. You’re going to make them file lawsuits. That doesn’t have to happen. The road to the right is the right road. It’s the road we were all taught. Do the right thing, do the ethical thing, do the decent thing, make it right. The regents have the power to do that. No one else does.”
Manly said he currently has cases against the University of Southern California, the University of California, Los Angeles, the Duke University Health System, Michigan State University and now the University of Michigan.
“This is a public health problem and a secret in medicine,” he said.
While he said there is a way to settle this case without lawsuits, he concluded by saying: “Justice is a really important part of this -- and it probably involves money.”