University of Michigan Reaches Settlement With Victims of Sports’ Doctors Abuse

Photo by Bernt Rostad license:Creative Commons

The University of Michigan has reached a $490 million settlement with over 1,000 former student-athletes who say they were abused at the hands of a former sports’ doctor, Dr. Robert Anderson, in the 1970s.

Anderson, who died in 2008 and was never prosecuted, was found by attorneys hired by the university in 2021 after a letter from a former student alleging the abuse to have “engaged in sexual misconduct with patients on countless occasions,” The New York Times reported.

The university investigated the allegations for nearly three years, asking victims to come forward. In most cases, Anderson abused victims during medical visits, often under the pretenses that it was part of the physical examinations. He retired in 2003.

The settlement reached is one of the largest ever arrived at by a university and victims of sexual abuse.

“The University of Michigan has accepted responsibility financially and otherwise for harm that was caused by Anderson to so many young people that could have been avoided,” attorney Jamie White, a who represents many of the victims, said in a statement. “The university should be commended and not condemned.”

“Most of our clients had a strong love for the university and did not want to see permanent damage, but wanted accountability.”

While the bulk of the settlement — $430 million — will be paid out to claimants, the remaining $30 million will be set aside for victims that may come forward in the future.

Jordan Acker, the chairman of the university’s board of regents, said that Michigan officials “hope this settlement will begin the healing process for survivors.”

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