YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) — More men came forward Thursday with allegations of sexual abuse by a late doctor at the University of Michigan in lawsuits and personal statements, as the state’s attorney general insisted that the school must commit to cooperating with her office before she would move to begin an independent investigation.
The new allegations include three former athletes who filed lawsuits against the school alleging that Dr. Robert Anderson sexually assaulted them while the men were members of the football and hockey teams in the 1980s. At a separate news conference, two men said Anderson sexually assaulted them during medical exams.
The university, located in Ann Arbor, revealed last month that it was investigating multiple allegations of abuse against Anderson, who died in 2008. Last week, it said it had received more than 100 complaints about Anderson.
The lawsuits filed Thursday mirror allegations in one filed a day earlier, the first suit against the university over Anderson. The lawsuits all accuse the university of failing to remove Anderson despite multiple complaints about him. All identify the men only as John Doe.
Two other men spoke at a news conference in Ypsilanti to detail allegations that Anderson sexually abused them decades ago, including a man who said he saw Anderson for a physical required by his job as a pilot in 1973.
JP DesCamp said Anderson had him lie naked on an exam table and touched his genitals and rectum.
DesCamp said he left the office “feeling highly vulnerable and taken advantage of” but never discussed it with anyone. DesCamp said he later learned that co-workers refused to see Anderson because “word about Dr. Drop-your-drawers Anderson was out.”
The university’s president has apologized to “those who were harmed” by Anderson, and officials have acknowledged that some campus employees were aware of accusations against the doctor prior to a 2018 complaint that led to a police investigation.
Anderson worked at the university from 1966 until his retirement. His decades-long career included serving as director of the university’s Health Service and a physician for multiple athletic teams, including football. Campus police found that complaints spanned much of Anderson’s time at the school, up to 2002.
One of the men suing Thursday said he was a member of the football team from 1980 to 1985. Another man’s lawsuit identified him as an All State football player in high school who received an athletic scholarship and was a member of the Michigan team from 1981 through 1985. The third lawsuit was filed on behalf of a man who was a member of the hockey team from 1983 until 1984.
Each man said he saw Anderson multiple times a year and that he would fondle their genitals and digitally penetrate their anuses.
“In one illustrative example, plaintiff recalls being told to see Anderson when he had strep throat, and during this appointment, Anderson violated plaintiff with digital anal penetration and genital fondling,” one suit said.
Multiple attorneys who represent men accusing Anderson of sexual abuse have called on Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel to open her own investigation into the physician and the university’s actions.
Nessel said Thursday that she would welcome a request from the university to investigate but first asked for a commitment of full cooperation, including waiving all privilege over documents and other information. She also said the Legislature should first commit to funding an investigation.
“University of Michigan regents, if you’re listening to me right now, hear what I’m telling you,” Nessel said. “We’re happy to come in, we’re happy to have a completely objective, non-biased investigation.”
Nessel said her insistence is rooted in the office’s experience while investigating Michigan State University. Amid public pressure, the school’s board of trustees in 2018 asked Nessel’s predecessor to investigate the university’s handling of allegations made against former sports doctor Larry Nassar.
Three former school officials faced charges based on the investigation. But Michigan State refused to waive attorney-client privilege, Nessel said, denying investigators access to thousands of documents.
“The last thing we want to do is give people false hope that we’re going to be able to truly explain exactly what it is that occurred, when we know there’s no way we are going to be able do that if the university’s not going to cooperate,” she said.
A message seeking comment was left with a spokeswoman at the University of Michigan.
John Manly, an attorney representing DesCamp and Connelley and other men who say Anderson abused them, said Nessel’s approach is reasonable. Manly, who represented many of Nassar’s victims, said University of Michigan regents should comply with Nessel’s request.
“What happened here was a 30-year lie,” Manly said. “The best and brightest of this state was savaged by Dr. Anderson and we know people in the university in positions of power knew and did nothing.”
Eggert reported from Lansing, Mich. and Foody reported from Chicago.