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University of Michigan reaches hefty abuse settlement

Former University of Michigan football player Gilvanni Johnson speaks at a news conference about allegations against former university doctor Robert Anderson on June 10 in Novi, Mich. Associated Press/Photo by Jose Juarez

University of Michigan reaches hefty abuse settlement

More than 1,000 former athletes, mostly men, who say a university sports doctor sexually assaulted them are suing the school for ignoring their allegations. After 15 months of negotiation, the university reached a $490 million settlement on Tuesday night. The bulk of the settlement will be equally divided among the claimants, and $30 million will be reserved for any future claims. The agreement is pending approval from the Board of Regents, 98 percent of the claimants, and the court.

What happened? Robert Anderson, who died in 2008, was a director for the university’s Health Service and a physician for multiple athletic teams between 1966 and 2003. Most athletes allege Anderson assaulted them during routine medical examinations. One claimant, the son of former football coach Bo Schembechler, said Anderson started abusing him at age 10, but his father did not believe his accusations. Other men said Anderson helped his alleged victims avoid the draft during the Vietnam War by writing letters certifying them as homosexual, which at the time excluded them from military service. Tad DeLuca wrote the whistleblowing letter to the university in 2018, inspired by hundreds of gymnasts who came forward with abuse allegations against Michigan State sports doctor Larry Nassar.

Dig deeper: Read Esther Eaton’s report in Schooled about an investigation into how Moody Bible Institute handles abuse allegations.

Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a reporter for WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College graduate. She resides in Harrisburg, Pa.



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