Report: Michigan Failed to Properly Handle Dr. Robert Anderson Abuse Complaints

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 11, 2021

The University of Michigan football stadium is shown in Ann Arbor, Mich., Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. A crumbling college football season took a massive hit Aug. 11, when the Big Ten and Pac-12, two historic and powerful conferences, succumbed to the COVID-19 pandemic and canceled their fall football seasons. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya/Associated Press

An investigation determined staff at the University of Michigan failed to stop Dr. Robert Anderson from alleged sexual misconduct against students and athletes for decades despite knowledge of his activities, according to the Associated Press.

"A senior University administrator was told about Dr. Anderson's misconduct several times between 1978 or 1979 and 1981 but did not take appropriate action," the report from law firm WilmerHale said, via David Jesse of the Detroit Free Press.

Anderson served as the top physician for the University of Michigan football team until his retirement in 2003. He died in 2008.

Former students publicly accused Anderson last year of molesting them during routine physicals, leading to an independent review that stated officials were aware of the issues.

"The fact that no one took meaningful action is particularly disturbing in light of the nature, scope, and duration of Dr. Anderson's misconduct," the report said.

Kim Kozlowski of the Detroit News detailed the extent of the misconduct last October, noting an accusation from one victim led to more than 800 coming forward, mostly men. At least six people told school officials—including former head football coach Bo Schembechler and former athletic director Don Canham—about the doctor's actions.

Anderson was removed from his role as director of the University Health Service in 1979 after initial allegations, but he remained with the school in other capacities.

The latest report singled out Thomas Easthope, who was then the assistant vice president of student services, as someone who knew about allegations but did not terminate Anderson's employment.