In a case similar to the horrible sexual assault scandals at Michigan State and Ohio State, former Michigan team doctor Robert Anderson has been accused of sexual misconduct by numerous former patients. According to a school spokesman, it has received 257 unique complaints since establishing a hotline about Anderson in February.
Now, it appears that Anderson’s misconduct was not a secret. According to court documents filed this morning, two former Michigan football players said that head athletic trainer Paul Schmidt and at least one other employee were aware of the allegations. The two players are unnamed.
According to ESPN, the players allege that Schmidt and another Michigan staffer referred to as “Murph” would regularly joke about the misconduct. The two would tell players to “go back there to Dr. A to drop [their] drawers,” a reference to some of the specific accusations against Anderson, who died in 2008.
According to the allegations, Robert Anderson would perform “unnecessary rectal exams” and “excessive genital fondling” on patients. He worked at Michigan for 35 years. More than 20 former Michigan athletes have filed an intent to sue the school, board of regents, and Anderson’s estate.
Michigan's current head athletic trainer, Paul Schmidt, was named today as an enabler of former team doctor Robert Anderson's sexual abuse. Two former football players say they recall Schmidt "laughin’ and cacklin’ about it."
They're part of a large group that intends to sue.
— Dan Murphy (@DanMurphyESPN) April 24, 2020
In a press release this morning, attorney Mick Grewal took aim at the school over its alleged mishandling of the Anderson allegations. From ESPN:
“The University of Michigan failed them… Failed to protect them, failed to stop an alleged serial predator. We represent and have spoken with over 100 survivors, including professional and collegiate football players, wrestlers, golfers, hockey players, pilots, and people from all walks of life and the pattern is the same. Over the last 4 decades, multiple employees at the University, including Assistant AD Paul Schmidt could have stopped Anderson.”
The allegations against Anderson were already abhorrent. If a high-level Michigan staffer like Paul Schmidt knew, and both did nothing and made callous jokes about serial abuse over decades at their school, that is an unbelievable failing by all involved.
We’ll have more as it comes out on this horrible situation.