Ex-Michigan football player suing school over alleged abuse

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan shows Dr. Robert E. Anderson. A University of Michigan hotline has received more than 100 “unique complaints” about Dr. Anderson, a late physician accused of sexual abuse by former patients, including athletes who encountered him as a team doctor, the school announced Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. He died in 2008. (Robert Kalmbach/Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan)

A man who played football at the University of Michigan sued the school and its board of regents on Monday, alleging the late Dr. Robert E. Anderson sexually abused him.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Detroit is seeking certification to be class action and aims to include anyone else who says they were molested by the school doctor. The plaintiff, identified as John Doe, accuses the university of failing to remove the doctor despite complaints about him dating back decades.

Doe, a resident of New York, said he was on an academic scholarship from 1989 to 1993 and played football for the Wolverines.

The lawsuit is the latest in a long line of filings facing the university for the way it handled allegations Anderson sexually abused patients from the 1960s until his retirement in 2003. He died in 2008.

A message seeking comment on the lawsuit filed Monday was left with the school.

The university has acknowledged some campus employees were aware of accusations against the doctor prior to a 2018 complaint that led to a police investigation. The school has received more than 100 complaints about Anderson on a hotline for people who have information to come forward.

Two-plus weeks after hiring Steptoe & Johnson to investigate allegations against Anderson, the school said it will find another law firm after learning that some of its attorneys represented high-profile clients accused of sexual misconduct.

Steptoe & Johnson lawyers have represented Jeffrey Epstein, the financier who killed himself in jail last year while awaiting trial on charges of sexually abusing girls, and director Roman Polanski, still wanted in the U.S. decades after he was charged with raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977.

The revelations at the school in Ann Arbor echo other high-profile allegations and investigations of sexual abuse made by patients of sports doctors at other universities, including Michigan State, Ohio State and Minnesota.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said last week that she would investigate the claims against Anderson and how the school dealt with them if the school waives attorney-client privilege and fully cooperates. The school declined the offer, saying it plans to stay the course with its own investigation.

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