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University of Michigan reaches $490 million settlement with hundreds who say they were sexually assaulted by Robert Anderson, former sports doctor

The University of Michigan has agreed to a $490 million settlement with hundreds of people who say they were sexually assaulted by a former sports doctor at the school, those involved in the agreement said Wednesday. Robert Anderson worked at the university from 1966 until his 2003 retirement and was director of the university's Health Service and a physician for multiple athletic teams, including football.

University of Michigan Doctor Sexual Assault
File photo, date and location not known, provided by the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan, shows Dr. Robert E. Anderson. Robert Kalmbach / Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan via AP, File

The university said 1,050 people will share in the settlement, which was reached through mediation. Individuals and their attorneys will determine how to split $460 million, with no input from the university, the school said in a statement. An additional $30 million will be set aside for future claims. "We hope this settlement will begin the healing process for survivors," said Jordan Acker, chair of the University of Michigan Board of Regents. "At the same time, the work that began two years ago, when the first brave survivors came forward, will continue."  

Attorney Parker Stinar said the settlement was reached the night before. The university had been in mediation to resolve multiple lawsuits by mostly men who said Dr. Robert Anderson sexually abused them during routine medical examinations. 

"It has been a long and challenging journey, and I believe this settlement will provide justice and healing for the many brave men and women who refused to be silenced," said Stinar, who represents about 200 victims. 

Tad DeLuca, the whistleblower whose letter to Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel alleging sexual assault sparked an investigation into Anderson, found no joy in the settlement and said it won't address deeper issues. 

"The settlement is going gloss things over so Michigan can go back to having a glossy block `M' and look wonderful for world, but the situation on campus is horrible," DeLuca said in a telephone interview Wednesday morning.  

The university had been in mediation to resolve multiple lawsuits by mostly men who said Anderson sexually abused them during routine medical examinations. A number of football players and other athletes have come forward to accuse Anderson, who died in 2008, of sexually abusing them.

A report by a firm hired by the school determined that staff missed many opportunities to stop Anderson over his 37-year career.

The university regularly is ranked among the top public universities in the U.S.

The deal came just after two men who say they were sexually assaulted by Anderson said they were hoping that a change in leadership with the weekend firing of university President Mark Schlissel would allow the school be more accountable toward abuse victims.

Keith Moree and Robert Stone told reporters Tuesday that the Ann Arbor school is ripe for a culture change as its board conducts a search to permanently replace Schlissel, who was removed Saturday due to an alleged "inappropriate relationship with a university employee."

Last year, lawyers said Matt Schembechler, the son of legendary University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, was among the hundreds of men who were sexually assaulted by Anderson.

Teri Anderson, the former daughter-in-law of Robert Anderson, spoke in support of the victims last September, CBS Detroit reported.

"From the beginning of my interactions with Bob I always questioned his sanity, how can this highly regarded Michigan physician be so off," she said.

She was married to Robert Anderson's son from 1995 till 2008, they had two children, one of whom sadly committed suicide six years ago as a teenager. She says she knew he was in pain and struggling with something, and once the allegations against Anderson came out, she starting putting together questionable pieces from her son's childhood.

"I remember when Bob and his wife would watch my children during my ex's parenting time and my son calling me crying saying he did not want to be left alone with his grandpa," Anderson said.

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