University of Michigan reaches $490 million settlement with sexual abuse survivors

Jan. 19, 2022
More than 1,000 people said they had been abused by Robert Anderson, who worked at the university as an athletics doctor. He died in 2008.

The University of Michigan has reached a $490 million settlement with more than 1,000 survivors of sexual abuse by the late athletics doctor Robert Anderson. reports that about $460 million will be split among the survivors; an extra $30 million held in reserve to address future claims, said Parker Stinar, an attorney representing 200 of Anderson’s victims.

Each accuser will see around $440,000 as a result of the settlement.

Hundreds of survivors, many identified as John Doe, filed a federal lawsuit in June 2020 over the university's alleged role in Anderson’s abuse. Almost 1,200 rapes reported to the university last year were related to Anderson’s abuse, according to a campus safety report.

Anderson worked at the University of Michigan from 1966 to 2003, serving as head of the University Health Service and with the Athletic Department. He died in 2008.

The Anderson settlement is comparable to the $500 million settlement that Michigan State University gymnasts received in compensation for the abuse by Larry Nassar. 

Anderson’s name gained infamy in February 2020 when former University of Michigan wrestler Tad DeLuca went public in a letter to Athletic Director Warde Manuel about how Anderson sexually abused him in 1975. 

Those first accusations grew from dozens to hundreds to more than a thousand former students and athletes who claim Anderson digitally penetrated them in unnecessary rectal exams during physicals.

240-page report released in May 2021 detailed more than 30 years of alleged abuse by Anderson.

The report stated that university officials knew about the abuse, including one senior UM administrator who was told about the misconduct several times in the late 1970s but did not take appropriate action.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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