The University of Michigan has agreed to pay $490 million to more than 1,000 individuals who say they were sexually assaulted by the late Dr. Robert Anderson.
The university said 1,050 people will share in the settlement, which was reached through a mediation process that began in October 2020, ESPN reports. An additional $30 million will be set aside for future claims.
Jordan Acker, the chair of the University of Michigan Board of Regents, told reporters that the agreement will resolve all survivor claims.
“We must support healing and restoration of trust in an environment where safety is paramount,” Acker said. “This agreement is an important step in that direction.”
The university had been in mediation to resolve multiple lawsuits by mostly men who said Anderson — who worked at the university from 1966 until his 2003 retirement — sexually abused them during routine medical examinations.
Anderson also served as the director of the university’s Health Service and a physician for multiple athletic teams, including football. ESPN reports a number of football players and other athletes have come forward to accuse Anderson, who died in 2008, of sexually abusing them.
“I am proud to announce that a settlement was reached with the 1,050 survivors of Robert Anderson and the University of Michigan,” Parker Stinar, an attorney representing 200 of Anderson’s victims, said in a statement. “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.”
The allegations were first made in July 2018 when Tad DeLuca wrote a letter to U-M Athletic Director Warde Manuel, WXYZ Detroit reports.
The university hired the WilmerHale law firm to take over an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Anderson In March 2020, and the May 2021 report by the firm determined that staff missed many opportunities to stop Anderson over his 37-year career.
The school said the report also found that Anderson’s misconduct “occurred across his various roles at the university and throughout his University career — with patients who sought treatment from him at [University Health Service], with student-athletes who were sent to him for required pre-participation physical examinations, and with medical students he was responsible for teaching.”
The report said that over his 37-year career at U-M, “Anderson’s misconduct ranged from performing medically unnecessary hernia and rectal examinations on patients seeking treatment for wholly unrelated issues, to manually stimulating male patients … to quid-pro-quo arrangements in which he provided medical services in exchange for sexual contact.”
“We hope this settlement will begin the healing process for survivors,” Acker said. “At the same time, the work that began two years ago, when the first brave survivors came forward, will continue.”
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