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U of M students react to 100+ new complaints against former athletic doctor

Posted at 11:22 PM, Feb 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 21:00:00-05

The University of Michigan received more than 100 unique complaints of sexual abuse against the late former athletic physician, Dr. Robert Anderson, the Associated Press has learned.

"It upsets me," current U of M sophomore Alex Franchi told 7 Action News.

The complaints were reported to the university's compliance hotline.

MORE: U-M: More than 100 unique complaints of sex abuse by late doctor called in on hotline

The alleged abuse occurred mostly in the 1970s, with at least one reported case in the 1990s. The alleged abuse was made public recently when a former U of M wrestler, Tad Deluca, came forward and claimed that when he spoke up about it at the time, his then-coach kicked him off the team and he lost his scholarship.

Dr. Anderson, who passed away in 2008, worked at U of M from 1968 to 2003.

It's alleged that Anderson abused student athletes for years, under the guise of medical treatment.

“That mental psyche, was something I couldn’t deal with at the time," said former U of M wrestler Andy Hrovat, who spoke out alongside two other victims Thursday, including Deluca.

Given that the reported abuse occurred so long ago — litigation even at the federal level could be tricky, said attorney Deb Gordon, who worked on cases against Larry Nassar.

“It’s very similar to what happened in the Larry Nassar case, and Michigan State University was sued. So that would be the idea here. He’s dead, nonetheless things happened on the university’s watch," she said.

In 2018, following the Nassar case, Michigan state law changed to expand the reporting window for sexual abuse victims.

"If you were assaulted or sexually abused as a minor you have until you are aged 28 or three years after you found out what happened to you," Gordon explained, noting that in many cases of abuse involving minors, victims are not aware they've been sexually assaulted until much later.

For adults, you have two years to file a claim of sexual assault after it occurs.

The Washtenhaw County Prosecutor’s Office determined no criminal charges would be brought. However, U of M Police said they will investigate any new claims.

It’s alleged that as recently as 2018 — additional attempts by victims for accountability by the school went ignored.

“It’s tough because it just happened so long ago it’s hard to really do anything about it," Franchi said.

Meanwhile, U of M leadership says it’s urging any additional victims to continue to come forward.

If you have a question or want to report a concern, call the U-M Compliance Hotline at (866) 990-0111.

No lawsuit has been filed against the school at this time, however attorneys for alleged victims said Thursday a meeting with U of M leadership is set.