The University of Michigan will pay $490 million to those who say they were sexually abused by Dr. Robert Anderson, according to sources who confirmed the number.
More than 1,000 people over several decades say they were abused by Anderson, who was a sports doctor at the university. The abuse allegedly started when Anderson was hired at Michigan in 1966 and continued until he retired in 2003. He died in 2008.
The money is less than Michigan State University paid out to survivors of Dr. Larry Nassar, who has been convicted of sexually abusing athletes. Michigan State settled that case for $500 million, which was paid out to more than 500 women. USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee also settled for $380 million with Nassar survivors.
According to the law firm, Michigan's settlement also sets aside $30 million for future abuse claims.
The allegations of alleged sexual abuse by Anderson came to light in July 2018 when Tad DeLuca wrote a letter to Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel.
In May 2021, a report commissioned by the university from WilmerHale Law Firm was released. It found credible allegations of sexual abuse between 1966 and 2003.
The report lays out Anderson's disturbing history of abuse toward students and student-athletes that spanned decades.
Some of the revelations included in the report may disturb some readers.
The alleged sexual abuse includes claims of unnecessary hernia checks, pelvic examinations and rectal and prostate examinations, as well as incidents of fondling male patients until they ejaculated. The report also included incidents where Anderson had the patients perform such acts on his own body. The report states that these incidents were done under the guise of demonstrating how to perform such examinations.
In their investigation, WilmerHale found that university personnel was informed about Anderson's misconduct several different times and from multiple sources. No action was taken to prevent such abuse from continuing.
The report also states that "almost immediately" after Anderson arrived at the university, rumors began spreading about his "inappropriate and unnecessary examinations of a sensitive nature."
The report says the rumors were so widespread that roughly half of the patients who reported negative experiences to the investigators said they were aware of the rumors or jokes about Anderson either before or after their own experiences.
The jokes included nicknames given to Anderson by student-athletes, including "Handy Andy," "Goldfinger," "Dr. Handerson" and "Dr. Drop Your Drawers Anderson."
The report also found incidents where the university was directly informed of abusive conduct and did nothing to stop them. One such occasion came in 1975 when a student-athlete told a wrestling coach that Anderson would ask the patient to drop their drawers and cough, regardless of the reason for the visit. WilmerHale found no evidence that school officials looked into those complaints.
This story was originally published by Scripps station WXYZ in Detroit.
Read the full report below:
WH Anderson Report by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd