Michigan reaches $490M settlement with sexual assault survivors

Field Level Media

January 19, 2022 at 3:38 pm.

Michigan reached a $490 million settlement with more than 1,000 alleged victims of Dr. Robert Anderson, a former sports doctor at the university.

Attorney Parker Stinar said Wednesday the two sides agreed to the settlement late Tuesday.

“I am proud to announce that a settlement was reached with the 1,050 survivors of Robert Anderson and the University of Michigan,” Stinar said. “It has been a long and challenging journey, and I believe this settlement will provide justice and healing for the many brave men and women who refused to be silenced.”

Anderson, who died in 2008, was accused by hundreds of football players and athletes of abuse during routine physical examinations from 1968 to 2003. Former Michigan wrestler Tad Deluca said he first told the university about Anderson suggesting unnecessary rectal and testicular exams in 1975. Deluca was kicked off the team by wrestling coach Bill Johannesen, he said.

Several former Michigan athletes, including football player Jon Vaughn, said former football coach Bo Schembechler was also made aware of allegations, but continued to consult with Anderson and approve physicals.

Anderson was the primary physician for several programs at Michigan and also served as director of university health services.

Michigan hired a firm to investigate the allegations following multiple suits against the university. A report from the firm found several employees and officials had opportunities to intervene but failed to do so or did not take appropriate action.

“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,” law firm WilmerHale found. “Concerning information was also shared with other university personnel. Although the information these individuals received varied in directness and specificity, Dr. Anderson’s misconduct may have been detected earlier and brought to an end if they had considered, understood, investigated or elevated what they heard.”