Judge OK’s fund for abuse victims of U-M doctor

DETROIT — A judge on Friday signed off on a settlement for more than 1,000 people who say they were sexually assaulted by a University of Michigan doctor, an order that would allow the victims to file lawsuits against the school. Allows collection of a portion of the agreed $490 million settlement.

Paul Brown, chairman of the school’s governing board, said, “The University of Michigan deeply apologizes for the abuse committed by the late Robert Anderson. We hope this settlement will help the survivors heal. will help,” said Paul Brown, chairman of the school’s governing board.

Anderson died in 2008 after nearly 40 years at the university. He was director of the campus health service and physician for several sports teams, including football.

Former athletes, students and others not affiliated with the university — mostly men — said they were molested by Anderson during routine physicals or other visits.

The settlement was announced in January, but the final details took months to finalize. The university said the deal recently received approval from 98 percent of applicants.

“It’s been a long road,” said Richard Schulte, a lead negotiator for Anderson’s victims. “I’m so happy for the survivors and happy to be able to make it across the finish line.”

The university will have no role in the distribution of money. Six percent of the settlement, or $30 million, will be earmarked for those who later proceed with claims.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts approved the creation of the fund and appointed Houston-based Archer Systems LLC as the claims administrator.

“The process is completely confidential, but we expect the distribution to happen this fall,” Schulte said.

The scandal became public in 2020, two years after a complaint by a wrestler in the 1970s, Tad DeLuca, sparked a police investigation, even though Anderson was long dead.

This triggered a wave of men who came forward to say they too had been assaulted by Anderson. Some allegations span decades. Litigation ensued.

Meanwhile, the university hired law firm Wilmer Hale to investigate. The results were devastating: Anderson harassed, abused and assaulted patients on “countless occasions” during his 37-year career.

According to the report, coaches, trainers and other staff in the athletic department did not question Anderson’s status despite complaints, rumors and even jokes among players about his behavior.

Complaints were made to athletic director Don Canham and legendary football coach Bo Schembichler, but no action was taken, the report said. Both are deceased.

Anderson was also authorized by the federal government to administer physicals to pilots and air traffic controllers in southeast Michigan, some of whom count themselves among the victims.

“We view this settlement as just one of the steps we took in a process we began more than two years ago to fully understand what happened, make amends and implement reforms,” ​​Brown said Friday. be done.” “Our work is not done until UM is recognized as a leader in creating a campus environment that is safe for all.”

Not everyone was satisfied. Richard Goldman, a student broadcaster and Anderson victim in the early 1980s, said Schembichler referred him to Canham but the powerful athletic director did not intervene.

“Seriously, fake apologies are not acceptable,” Goldman said of Brown’s remarks.

The settlement is one of several by universities following sexual harassment scandals. Michigan State University paid $500 million to settle claims by more than 300 women and girls who said they were assaulted by campus sports doctor and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

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