If you’ve been following breaking news in Michigan, you might know that the University of Michigan is having its “day in the sun” with a former doctor involved in a sex abuse scandal that took place over many years.
Reports come after Dr. Larry Nassar, the former MSU and USA Gymnastics sports medicine doctor, was sentenced to more than 100 years in prison for molesting hundreds of young girls and women during his long career.
It’s eerie how the pattern of abuse being uncovered at University of Michigan follows that of Nassar.
The University of Michigan set up a compliance hotline in February of 2020. It states that “the compliance hotline should be used by Health System employees to raise financial, regulatory and patient safety concerns.”
In two days, the hotline had received 31 calls about Dr. Robert Anderson. In less than a month, it has received over 100 calls.
Who Was Dr. Anderson?
Unfortunately for the victims, Robert Anderson died in 2008. He will not see justice for his crimes. Anderson worked for the University from 1967 to 2003. Calls to the hotline and police interviews in a 91-page report detail a pattern of abuse of young men.
Athletes would go to Dr. Anderson for ankle or elbow injuries and receive unnecessary rectal, penis, and hernia exams. He became known as “Dr. Drop Your Drawers.” Anderson’s abuses were common knowledge as far back as the 1960s and 70s.
Three former UM wrestlers, including one Olympian, have come forward to tell their stories and hold UM accountable.
A former staffer was told that Anderson was “fooling around” with young men in the exam rooms and attempted to fire him. He found out later that Anderson continued to work at UM for decades after that.
There’s also some evidence he may have abused kids as young as middle school-aged. One man has come forward who received a physical from Dr. Anderson as a 12-year-old.
The University of Michigan In Trouble
As we’ve seen in the case of Larry Nassar, the culture and institutions that made the abuse possible will also be held responsible. At least, that is what victims are attempting to do.
Several victims, in this case, have hired lawyers who represented Nassar victims. Justice becomes more critical when the man himself can no longer be held responsible.
However, what is University of Michigan doing?
In 1975, UM wrestler Tad Deluca wrote a letter to UM explaining the unnecessary exams and behavior he called fondling. He had talked to a football player who had also received the same treatment, and he wanted to alert the university to the dangers of this man.
Deluca claims the university not only ignored his complaints but that he was kicked off the wrestling team and lost a full-ride scholarship.
Former UM wrestling coach Bill Johansen denies that Deluca ever received a full-ride scholarship.
Proactive Steps & Legal Responsibility
University of Michigan police have compiled a report and hired the Steptoe & Johnson law firm to investigate the allegations. Moving forward, the university has offered free counseling to any victims of Dr. Anderson.
However, how will victims see justice done? One has to wonder who knew the details of what was going on, since it was happening for decades. Dr. Anderson was never held responsible.
Which of those people who knew will ultimately be held accountable? And will the university be facing a lawsuit?
As more victims have continued to come forward, it becomes less likely that the university will escape some restitution. The University of Michigan is encouraging anyone who may have been affected by Anderson to call the hotline at 866-990-0111 or the Steptoe & Johnson law firm.