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University of Michigan on Dr. Anderson: Sex abuse allegations ’sadden and disgust us’

University promises ‘thorough,’ transparent internal investigation

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)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Michigan Board of Regents and President Mark Schlissel released a joint statement Friday in response to sex abuse claims against Dr. Robert Anderson.

Here is the full statement:

"We are sorry for the pain caused by the failures of our beloved University.

The allegations that have surfaced sadden and disgust us.

We are profoundly grateful to our courageous alumni who have stepped forward to hold our University accountable. We stand committed to the thorough, independent and transparent investigation launched by an external firm into the disgraceful behavior that has been reported.

We have met with, and sought counsel from, survivors, doctors and mental health experts and believe we are overseeing a process that will ultimately serve as the best course of action for the survivors and University community. Our goal is for the University to serve as the highest example for other institutions on how to handle similar situations.

We recognize that trust in the University has been broken. As leaders, we understand the tremendous importance of integrity, and we will strive to always uphold the public’s trust in our University. There is no greater institutional responsibility than the safety of our students, faculty and staff."

This statement from university leaders comes a day after Michigan Attorney General Nessel said she needs one thing from the university and that’s complete transparency. 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.

The number of abuse cases against Anderson reported to the University of Michigan hotline has surpassed 100. A law firm representing 40 of the alleged victims said it is now representing two former University of Michigan football players, one who played on the University’s 1997 national championship team, and a former NHL hockey player.

Read more: Survivors of University of Michigan doctor’s sexual abuse demand state investigation

Documents reveal that university officials allegedly knew that Anderson was fondling patients more than four decades ago, yet the doctor continued to practice.

READ: University of Michigan officials told of sexual abuse at hands of doctor decades ago

An Olympic and former Michigan All-American wrestler became the latest person to accuse Anderson of touching him inappropriately. Andy Hrvoat said he was a freshman at the university in 1998 when he went to Anderson.

“From my experience, going into there [an exam with Dr. Anderson], you freeze up because you already know going in something weird is going to happen,” he said.

He said Anderson had a reputation for abusing athletes during exams.

Read more: Olympic wrestler says former University of Michigan doctor touched him inappropriately


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