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Reports of sexual abuse by late U of M doctor Robert Anderson exceed 2,100

black and white headshot of Robert Anderson
U Of M Bentley Historical Library
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Robert Anderson died in 2008.

Anderson worked in various capacities at the University of Michigan from the 1960s through his retirement in 2003.

Complaints of sexual abuse against the late University of Michigan doctor Robert Anderson have exceeded 2,100, according to the university's Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.

Of 1,212 reports of rape in 2020, 1,194 were reports involving Anderson. Out of 947 fondling reports in 2020, 916 involved Anderson. There were also 7 non-campus rape reports with one of them involving Anderson.

It’s not possible to determine the number of individuals from the number of complaints, U of M spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald said via email. He said the reports came from a wide variety of sources, including many that were anonymous.

Anderson retired from U of M in 2003 and died in 2008. WilmerHale, a law firm hired by U of M, concluded earlier this year that Anderson committed sexual misconduct on “countless occasions” over nearly four decades.

University officials were made aware of Anderson’s alleged abuse as early as 1975, according to the report. Multiple officials were made aware of Anderson’s abuse during his time at the university, the report found.

Investigators found that Anderson’s misconduct “ranged from performing medically unnecessary hernia and rectal examinations on patients seeking treatment for wholly unrelated issues, to manually stimulating male patients and causing them to ejaculate, to quid pro quo arrangements in which he provided medical services in exchange for sexual contact.”

Attorney Mike Cox, who represents over a hundred clients alleging sexual abuse by Anderson, said that he was “astounded” and “flabbergasted” at the amount of reports.

"What these numbers show is that the current estimate of 800 to 1,000 victims really understates it," he said.

Bipartisan bills are advancing through Michigan’s Legislature to give people more time to sue over sexual abuse.

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