The University of Michigan agreed to pay $490 million to 1,050 former students who alleged the school’s former sports doctor Robert Anderson sexually abused them, NBC News reported.
The alleged abuse began in the 1960s, with victims across several decades, according to NBC News. The purported survivors will receive an average of $438,000 and $30 million will be set aside for victims who step forward in the future.
Anderson, who retired in 2003 and died in 2008, was the director of the University Health Service and the top physician for the school’s football team. (RELATED: FBI Agent Allegedly Had Improper ‘Romantic Relationship’ With Subordinate, Used Power In Corrupt Ways)
U. of Michigan reaches $490M settlement over sexual abuse (from @AP) https://t.co/45IIMR9ZTd
— David Eggert (@DavidEggert00) January 20, 2022
“I am grateful that UM has finally made this offer to address a lifetime of harm Dr. Anderson caused to more than 1,000 victims, harm that UM knew about as early as 1969,” commented Bill Herndon, who alleged that Anderson forced him to perform oral sex during a medical visit in 1971, according to NBC.
Tad DeLuca, a former wrestler at the University of Michigan, initially brought the abuse allegations into the public eye in 2020, NBC reported. He described writing a nine page letter to his coach in 1975 detailing Anderson’s alleged abuse, and his coach reading that letter in front of his teammates, dismissing him from the team and revoking his scholarship.
DeLuca was inspired to come forward when female gymnasts at Michigan State University reported being abused by Larry Nassar, according to NBC. USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee agreed to pay Nassar’s victims $380 million in what was at the time the largest-ever settlement for sex abuse victims.
The settlement still needs to be approved by the victims and a judge, according to the Michigan Daily. “It’s always difficult to put a value on what is fair and what is not fair when it comes to having your childhood taken away,” Jamie White, an attorney representing 78 of the victims, told the Daily.
“Based on my conversations with my clients, even prior to yesterday, [I think] that this is going to be acceptable to them.”
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