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University of Michigan begins contacting former student-athletes in Anderson investigation

Robert E. Anderson allegedly sexually abused patients in his exam room for decades

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 – The University of Michigan is contacting thousands of former student-athletes in an effort to learn if they were patients of the late Dr. Robert E. Anderson and if they experienced sexual abuse at the hands of the former team physician while on campus.

As of April 3, the university has received 168 unique complaints regarding Dr. Anderson, the majority of which were reported through the school’s hotline.

From the mid-1960s through the early 2000s, there were roughly 6,800 student-athletes on campus. Michigan Athletics is reaching out to every living former student-athlete with a valid email address -- about 4,400 in all -- urging them to speak with independent investigators from the WilmerHale law firm if they were abused by Anderson or if they have any information relevant to the case.

A letter will also be sent through the U.S. Postal Service this week.

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Both are signed by U-M Athletic Director Warde Manuel, who was also a student-athlete at the university.

The letter reads, in part:

WilmerHale’s mission is to follow the facts wherever they may lead in order to help the university understand how the abuse that has been reported could have occurred. That knowledge will allow the university to better prevent abuse from happening in the future. WilmerHale will not disclose to the university or anyone else the names of any person who provides information in the investigation and WilmerHale will protect the identity and confidentiality of former patients and witnesses to the greatest extent permitted by law.

Those with information are encouraged to contact the university’s designated call center for the case at 855-336-5900. The call center can be reached 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. WilmerHale can also be contacted directly at 877-428-9667 or UofM@wilmerhale.com.

Individuals affected by Anderson’s conduct can receive free counseling through confidential support services firm Praesidium. They can be reached at 888-961-9273 to help facilitate confidential counseling resources across the country.

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