ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — Dozens of people have come forward accusing a doctor who used to work for the University of Michigan of sexual assault.
On Thursday, three more people, a former University of Michigan hockey player and two football players filed lawsuits against the university in connection to the alleged abuse. Plus, three other men who say they are victims, spoke at a press conference about what happened.
At the press conference men who say they say they were victims of a Dr. Robertson say they want the Michigan Attorney General to do a full investigation into what happened.
Dr. Robert Anderson worked for the University of Michigan, where he often treated student athletes from 1968 until he retired in 2003.
“What happened in Ann Arbor is a horror story,” said Robert Stone.
Stone and the other two accusers, Michael Connelly and JP DesCamp, were joined by women who spoke out against Dr. Larry Nassar. Nassar was convicted of abusing patients while employed by Michigan State University.
The men said the young women inspired them to speak about assaults that they kept secret for years. The described assaults so graphic we can not say what happened on television.
“It was disgusting,” said DesCamp.
“I was told he was gay friendly. I went to see him for a sore throat. That is when the abuse started,” said Connelly.
JP DesCamp was not a student when it happened. He says he went to Dr. Anderson to get an exam mandated if he wanted a job on a flight crew for General Motors Aviation Division.
He says the doctor admonished him during the exam, saying he would have to get used to such exams if he was going to be a successful pilot.
“This was my dream job working at GMAD. If he would have not approved, if I would have ran out, if I would have signaled my displeasure, he would have failed me,” said DesCamp.
John Manly, one of the attorneys representing the men from Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, said he has heard stories where Dr. Anderson coerced men who were draft eligible during Vietnam, threatened to claim victims were gay when they were not, and threatened their scholarships.
While the doctor died in 2008, Manly says an investigation needs to be done into whether anyone else should be held accountable.
“There are wrestling coaches who are still alive. There are assistant football coaches who are still alive. There are doctors and nurses that are still alive. Perpetrators don’t perpetrate without help,” said Manly.
“Before we can have reconciliation we need the truth. We need to know, how many people were assaulted? How did it happen? Who allowed it to happen? Who could have done something but maybe didn’t do something?” said Stone.
The University released a statement saying:
We share the same goal of gathering all the facts, including understanding the full scope of the harm caused by Dr. Robert E. Anderson and the institutional failings of the university. We have committed to publicly share the independent firm's report. For there to be a transparent reckoning of the full history, we again encourage all witnesses and former patients to come forward and share their stories. The university is offering counseling services to anyone affected by Anderson. We are partnering with Praesidium, a national firm with extensive experience facilitating confidential and sensitive support services. No contact with the university will be required in order to access the services.
You can learn more about the counseling being offered at https://record.umich.edu/articles/university-to-provide-confidential-counseling/.
Attorney General Dana Nessel held a press conference in response to the call for action from her office.
“I commend those who have come forward to speak out about Dr. Anderson’s abuses,” Nessel said. “Your courage inspires us all and shines a spotlight on the work we have left to do to ensure that sexual assault and abuse is taken as seriously in the halls of academia as it is in the halls of justice.”
Right now her office is not investigating.
She said in a press release that there cannot be a complete and thorough investigation unless and until the University of Michigan commits to complete transparency and full cooperation.
For that to happen, the university would need to make a binding commitment to waive all privileges, including the attorney-client privilege, and fully cooperate in whatever law enforcement efforts there may be.
If the university were to waive privilege and fully cooperate, Nessel said the Attorney General’s office would still need an appropriation from the Legislature to fund investigatory efforts.