UM faces dozens of lawsuits from sexual assault victims, lawyers say

When Allan Goode visited the late Dr Robert E. Anderson at the University of Michigan in the 1970s, the doctor allegedly sexually assaulted him using a vibrating device, according to a legal notice filed this week.

On other occasions, Anderson allegedly asked Goode to sit in the dark with a lamp shining on parts of his body after alleged assaults, according to the advisory.

Goode believed it was medical treatment, but it was part of Anderson’s alleged abuse pattern and perhaps one of the darkest allegations to emerge against the former doctor, said said Okemos-based lawyer Mick Grewal.

“It’s completely excruciating,” Grewal said. “I can’t believe a healthcare professional would do this. But it didn’t happen to one person. It happened to other survivors.”

Goode’s allegations are among more than 100 lawsuits expected to be brought against UM in connection with the alleged sexual abuse of Anderson, who was director of the University Health Service and UM Sports Department from 1968 to 2003. He is died in 2008.

After:Former University of Michigan team doctor investigated for multiple sexual abuse complaints

The attorneys, who also represented Larry Nassar’s victims and secured a $ 500 million settlement, have filed 20 notices in Michigan Claims Court to sue UM, the Board of Regents and Anderson’s estate.

The disclaimer also states that they intend to name several other MU officials in the upcoming lawsuits, including UM sporting director Warde Manuel, deputy sporting director Paul Schmidt, former associate director. UM students Thomas Easthope and former UM athletic director Dave Brandon.

The remaining 80 lawsuit notices are pending and include alleged victims who were professional and college football players, wrestlers, golfers, hockey players, pilots and others.

Among the first batch of complaints are two former UM star football players who claim Schmidt was aware of Anderson’s alleged behavior, as well as a sports coach.

Additionally, for the first time, two women alleged that Anderson sexually assaulted them.

“We have credible evidence that the University of Michigan received complaints about Dr. Anderson and failed to properly investigate, discipline and sanction Dr. Anderson for his abusive and harassing conduct,” California attorney John Manly said. .

“The University of Michigan has an obligation under Title IX and other federal and state laws to protect students and others from sexual harassment and assault. It has failed. Several times. University and its regents must be held accountable. “

University of Michigan officials did not respond directly to the new allegations on Friday.

“The university has confidence in the independent investigation currently underway by law firm WilmerHale,” said UM spokesman Rick Fitzgerald. “This company has the deep expertise to conduct a thorough and flawless examination of the facts – wherever they lead.”

Fitzgerald added that there had been 257 unique complaints about Anderson as of April 23; most via the established hotlinethat UM has put in place in response to the allegations.

UM also apologized to the victims and offered free counseling.

The university also contacted 7,000 former student-athletes enrolled at the university during Anderson’s tenure and asked them to speak to outside investigators if they had been sexually abused by him, or to find out anything relevant to him. an investigation into his conduct and the university’s response, “to better prevent further abuse in the future.”

But Anderson’s alleged victims deserve more, said Grand Rapids attorney Steve Drew.

“Filing these notices is just one step in protecting the rights of our customers,” said Drew. “Victims of sexual assault deserve their rights protected. It is unacceptable that the University of Michigan did not protect them when they could and should have. “

Anderson has been charged with sexual assault while undergoing medical treatment by dozens of men, including prominent figures such as former Olympic wrestler Andy Hrovat and UM President Regent Ron Weiser.

Dozens of other victims have also sued UM in federal court, including athletes represented by former Attorney General Mike Cox and a lawsuit seeking certification as a class action suit.

The team of lawyers representing the victims of Nassar has filed a notice of intention to sue because it is the correct way to sue a government agency, Grewal said. They have been filed in recent days but have been delayed as the coronavirus has shut down most of public life, including the courts.

They were announced on Friday because lawyers wanted to show that “survivors know they are not alone,” Grewal said.

“(We) wanted to show how our investigation began to reveal information about who knew what and when as we strive for transparency and accountability,” Grewal said.

Among the allegations is one by Robert Julian Stone, the first to publicly accuse Anderson of sexual assault in February. He alleged that he saw Anderson in 1971 and the doctor dropped his pants, began demonstrating on himself how to look for signs of a sexually transmitted disease, then grabbed Stone’s hand and placed on her genitals.

Her story pushed an 18-month UM investigation into the public domain and opened a flood of other allegations of men who said the former doctor included other forms of abuse, including unnecessary hernia. and prostate exams.

In the recently filed claims,other men alleged that Anderson assaulted them and Schmidt was said to have been aware of his tactics.

Schmidt was previously named in a lawsuit filed last month by former Attorney General Mike Cox representing a victim who alleged the current UM employee was laughing and told him to “get used to it” after been abused. Schmidt then said he had no knowledge of the assaults.

New allegations allege that Schmidt was aware of other alleged situations. Schmidt did not immediately respond to telephone and email messages.

Two former U of M star soccer players identified as John B 27 Doe and John B 28 Doe support allegations that Schmidt, who is still employed at UM, and a coach described as “Murph” knew of the abuse. ‘Anderson, didn’t stop them and even joked about it.

Although not in the legal document, the alleged victims were named in a press release.

“It was always fair, like hey go see Dr. A,” John B 27 Doe said. “Go drop your drawers. I specifically remember Schmidty’s laughter about it. As I can see him doing. Murph was a bit calmer. I do remember Schmidty laughing and cackling.

John B 28 Doe added, “We would walk in and Schmidty was like, ‘go ahead and put your drawers down.’ It was a running joke because they would laugh, him and Murph – and the other coaches. They wouldn’t care that we had to go back there to Dr A to drop our drawers. “

“It was (expletive) because they’re sitting there laughing and we have to go in and drop our drawers,” John B 28 Doe said. “Now that you tell me what’s going on and I’m doing some research I’m like oh wow, that (expletive) is crazy. I can’t believe we’ve been put in danger.”

Jane B13 Doe, a UM student in the volleyball team, saw Anderson in 1982 and he “unnecessarily” fondled her breasts during compulsory sports exercise, according to the legal notice.

Another complaint was filed by Jane A7 Doe.

“Around 1983, on a date, Anderson asked Ms Doe to undress in front of him, fully exposed her breasts during an alleged breast exam, and touched her genitals during an alleged pelvic exam. “, indicates the legal notice.

Grewal said MU “failed to protect (the victims), failed to stop an alleged serial predator”.

“The pattern is the same,” Grewal said.

“Over the past four decades several university employees, including AD assistant Paul Schmidt, could have arrested Anderson but either neglected or chose not to, and athletic director Warde Manuel clearly tried to stop Anderson. cover it up by sending it to college. lawyers instead of going to the competent authorities and the Title IX office.

“The toxic culture of accepting sexual abuse as something athletes and patients should ‘get used to’ must end.”

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