Aug 4, 2021
In recent years, multiple major colleges and universities around the nation have become embroiled in sexual abuse scandals, with many revealing decades-old harm and systemic cover-ups. From Jerry Sandusky at Penn State to Larry Nassar at Michigan State and recently James Heaps at UCLA, major academic institutions are facing a reckoning with thousands of survivors.
In May, the University of Michigan released a 240-page report concluding that former school doctor, Robert Anderson, sexually abused student patients on “countless occasions.” The majority of the survivors, estimated to be 90% according to the report, were men.
Commissioned and paid for by the University of Michigan, the report asserted that over two dozen employees were alerted to allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse on the part of Robert Anderson, who worked for the school from 1966 to 2003. However, despite the many reports of abuse made by survivors and allies alike, no action was ever taken on the part of the university. Had action occurred, the report concluded, the former doctor would not have sexually abused more than 800 men over the course of nearly four decades.
The report’s findings are indicative of a troubling trend among American colleges and universities, where rampant sexual abuse took place as a result of, in many cases, not merely inaction but also systemic cover-ups on the part of high-ranking school officials. The result has been thousands of young lives severely impacted by trauma that is often lifelong.
What can survivors of Robert Anderson sexual abuse do to obtain a semblance of justice? What options are available for Robert Anderson survivors who were harmed decades ago (and outside the statute of limitations)?
When sexual abuse occurs, the institution responsible for employing the predator should be held liable. In the case of Dr. Robert Anderson (who died in 2008), survivors are not able to hold the perpetrator directly liable for such abhorrent abuse. But a personal injury civil lawsuit against the University of Michigan is a means of obtaining justice through financial compensation that is rightfully owed to these sexual abuse survivors.
Below we will review what legal options are available for Robert Anderson sexual abuse survivors, and also discuss how to file a claim with Dordulian Law Group in pursuit of a maximum financial damages award.
To better understand the gravity of the Robert Anderson sexual abuse scandal, it’s important to note some specific events throughout his career and review the overall timeline.
· 1963: Dr. Robert Anderson begins his tenure as an athletic department physician at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
· 1963-1967: A student on the wrestling team – Ron Weiser – visits Dr. Robert Anderson as a freshman and is abused on multiple occasions.
· 1969: Former patient Ed Glazier alleges Anderson traded Vietnam draft excuses for sexual favors. Glazier claims that he went to see Anderson after receiving a draft notice because other gay males said the former doctor would write an “unfit for military service” letter on their behalf. During the exam, Anderson reportedly masturbates in front of Glazier, who indeed receives a letter excusing him from military service. Under the impression that the encounter was the standard arrangement to avoid military service at that time, Glazier never reports the incident.
· 1971-1975: Various patients of Dr. Anderson are reportedly sexually abused, including:
· 1979: At this point, the university had an opportunity to address Anderson’s continued sexual abuse. Internal documents uncovered by the Detroit Free Press confirm that an investigation was conducted, and Anderson was set to be removed from his position as Director of University Health Services. Thomas Easthope, a U of M administrator and Anderson’s then-supervisor, reportedly attempted to fire him upon hearing of the sexual misconduct. But Anderson managed to keep his position and would eventually go on to become the athletic team physician.
· 1979 – 2003: Multiple students are sexually abused by Dr. Robert Anderson, many on repeated occasions. Some of the most well-documented cases include:
· July 2018: Tad Deluca, the aforementioned student who was dismissed from the wrestling team and lost his scholarship, writes a letter to University of Michigan Athletic Director, Warde Manuel. In the letter, Deluca confirms he was sexually assaulted by Dr. Anderson in 1975.
· November 2018: Thomas Easthope, Anderson’s former supervisor, confirms to detectives that he attempted to fire the alleged sexual predator and instructed him to stop “fooling around with boys.”
· April 2019: A university police investigation uncovers substantial evidence of sexual abuse occurring over the course of multiple decades. The Washtenaw County prosecutor becomes involved in the matter.
· August 2019: Robert Julian Stone, a former University of Michigan student, pens an essay on his experiences with Dr. Anderson’s sexual abuse. The essay, entitled “My Michigan Me-too moment, 1971,” alerts school officials to the abuse. When Stone attempts to secure a copy of his case file, he is reportedly told by university officials that it is now part of a larger, ongoing investigation.
· January 2020: The University of Michigan contracts a private law firm to conduct an investigation into the multiple allegations of sexual abuse.
· February 2020: Robert Julian Stone, the aforementioned student who wrote an essay about his experiences with Dr. Anderson, comes forward as a survivor and discloses additional information to the Detroit News.
· February 2020: A University of Michigan spokesperson acknowledges employees were aware of sexual abuse allegations prior to the 2018 complaint which launched a police investigation.
· February 2020: The University of Michigan issues a press release notifying Dr. Anderson victims that they should contact the school’s newly established compliance hotline after the Washtenaw County Prosecutor declines to press charges citing the statute of limitations having passed.
· February 2020: Multiple former patients come forward and make public allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual abuse on the part of Dr. Robert Anderson.
· February 2020: University of Michigan’s President issues a formal apology to survivors of Dr. Robert Anderson’s abuse.
· February 2020: A press conference is held with survivors Tad Deluca, Andy Hrovat, and Thomas Evashevski. Details related to repeated abuse and consistent inaction on the part of the university are revealed.
· March 2020: Multiple high-profile survivors come forward, including two former football players and a former NHL hockey player. Additionally, the first lawsuit against the University of Michigan over Anderson’s abuse is filed. The complainant, an unidentified former wrestler, alleges the university engaged in a cover-up of Dr. Robert Anderson’s sexual abuse. As more lawsuits are filed throughout the month, the university announces it will offer free counseling services to any Dr. Anderson survivors.
· March 2020: After a public apology is issued by the University of Michigan’s President and Board of Regents, citing the “pain caused by the failures of our beloved university,” the school announces it will “stay the course” and continue its own investigation despite an offer of assistance from the state’s attorney general.
· May 2021: The University of Michigan’s 240-page report is released, confirming a systemic failure on the part of countless employees and high-ranking officials to heed “credible reports” of sexual abuse and protect students who were repeatedly subjected to Dr. Anderson.
· June 2021: A group of more than two dozen former athletes, former students, and supporters call on the state’s attorney general to conduct an investigation into how the school dealt with multiple complaints of sexual abuse.
· July 2021: Survivors of Dr. Robert Anderson hold a press conference confirming that former Michigan football coach, Bo Schembechler, was made aware of the former doctor’s sexual abuse and misconduct but failed to take any action. Survivors also call for a broader investigation into the sexual abuse scandal.
Several accusers reportedly confirmed to investigators that Dr. Robert Anderson was openly known as “Dr. Drop Your Drawers.” Nevertheless, no action was ever taken on the part of school employees or officials to address the widespread allegations over the course of more than three decades.
While the statute of limitations has passed (Dr. Anderson having left the university in 2003) and the predator in question is deceased, survivors still have options for legal recourse, including recovering financial compensation.
A revival window similar to California’s AB 218 is expected to become law in Michigan. Following the investigations into Dr. Robert Anderson’s decades of abuse, in 2021, House Bill 4306 was re-introduced in the Michigan Legislature. This statute of limitations reform bill would create a new one-year window for physician sex abuse of minors and adults and remove the 1-year notice of claim requirement for suits against the government. It would be similar to the 90-day window previously allowed by state law for Michigan State’s Nassar survivors. When that happens (and we at Dordulian Law Group are confident it will), the legislation will provide survivors an opportunity at pursuing justice through a personal injury civil lawsuit. But survivors don’t have to wait for the revival window to officially take effect before having their claim prepared by an experienced and dedicated team of sexual abuse attorneys.
By contacting Dordulian Law Group’s (DLG) Sex Crimes Division, we can begin the process of obtaining justice for your Robert Anderson sexual abuse claim now – including conducting our own investigation and preparing your claim so that when the revival window does take effect, your opportunity at justice will be expedited.
Led by former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian, DLG offers survivors of sexual abuse an unparalleled level of experience as well as the proven results that provide peace of mind knowing your claim is in the best possible hands. As a sex crimes prosecutor, Dordulian helped obtain life sentences against some of the community’s most dangerous sexual predators. With more than 100 jury trial victories, Dordulian offers Dr. Robert Anderson sexual abuse survivors the knowledge and skill that’s required to ensure a maximum financial damages award is recovered.
Whether you live in California or around the country, DLG’s Sex Crimes Division can begin handling your Robert Anderson sexual abuse claim today. Our experienced team includes Chicago-based Of Counsel, Martin Gould, as well as in-house Chief Investigator – retired LAPD sex crimes detective, Moses Castillo. Our team has a national footprint, investigating and representing survivors of sexual abuse in some of the most high-profile cases across the country, including many former students and pilots abused by Dr. Robert Anderson.
At DLG, we’ve helped clients recover more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts, maintaining a 98% success record in the process. We’re dedicated to fighting as your legal advocates and ensuring you obtain the justice you deserve through a maximum damages award.
Whether it’s the Catholic Church or the Boy Scouts of America, DLG has experience successfully taking on major institutions in sexual abuse cases under California AB 218 – the recent legislation offering survivors of childhood sexual abuse a newfound opportunity at justice. With our experience and past success, we’re ready to help survivors of Dr. Robert Anderson secure the financial compensation they deserve through aggressive civil litigation.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.