A former football player at the University of Michigan has filed a lawsuit against the university, claiming that current athletic director Paul Schmidt did nothing to stop the sexual abuse he endured from the late Dr. Robert Anderson.
According to the lawsuit, the former football player told Schmidt that he was sexually abused during his first physical examination by Dr. Anderson in the 1980s. Schmidt allegedly told him to “get used to that.”
The suit claims Anderson sexually abused the former football player by groping and fondling his penis and testicles for long periods of time. The abuse continued during every one of the former player’s visits with Anderson. During these incidents, Anderson would also put his face within inches of his penis and testicles.
Although the former player felt uncomfortable during the visits with Anderson, he said he was too worried to report them because they might hurt his standing with the football staff.
“Plaintiff’s head coach, assistant coaches, and trainers directed and required Plaintiff, and all other members of the football team to see Anderson for all their medical needs,” the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit says the former player has been suffering “shame, shock, humiliation, emotional distress,” disturbing his innate sense of self-worth and self-identity, leading to anxiety and depression.
“Plaintiff has also suffered deeply, emotionally and psychologically, in ways that have manifested physically, from discovering on February 19, 2020, that his beloved alma mater knew about Anderson’s sexual assaults for decades; yet did nothing to stop Anderson,” the lawsuit states.
Schmidt couldn’t be reached for comment regarding the lawsuit. When the police interviewed him during an investigation into Anderson’s conduct, Schmidt said Anderson was an incredible doctor and a personal friend. He said he was frequently in the exams rooms with Anderson and that he never saw anything inappropriate.
Anderson was the director of health services at the University of Michigan until 1980 and the football team’s physician until his retirement in 2003. He died in 2008.
University of Michigan spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald said the university will carefully review the lawsuit and share it with its independent investigator to examine all the facts.