Ex-wrestler sues University of Michigan over doc’s assaults

A man who was a University of Michigan wrestler in the 1980s sued the school Wednesday, alleging that a late physician molested him dozens of times.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Detroit is the first since victims of Dr. Robert E. Anderson began to emerge a few weeks ago. The man, identified only as John Doe, accused the university of failing to remove the doctor despite complaints about him.

Doe said he was a student from 1984 to 1989. Anderson retired in 2003 and died in 2008.

“One illustrative incident is when plaintiff scratched his arm while wrestling on the mat during a summer training session, and he was told by leadership to see Anderson about the bleeding,” the lawsuit states.

“During his appointment for his arm, Anderson told plaintiff to drop his pants, and Anderson sexually assaulted, abused and molested” him, according to the lawsuit.

A university spokeswoman said the school couldn’t comment “other than to deeply apologize for the harm caused by Robert E. Anderson.”

“We recognize the enormous strength and courage it takes for survivors to come forward and share their stories,” university spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen said.

The university has acknowledged that some campus employees were aware of accusations against the doctor prior to a 2018 complaint that led to a police investigation. The school announced last week that it had received more than 100 complaints about Anderson.

“The university continues to encourage those who have been harmed by Robert E. Anderson, or who have evidence of his misconduct, to come forward,” Broekhuizen said.

Doe’s lawsuit accuses the university of violating his rights under federal education law and failing to supervise the doctor.

Doe said he entered college as a 17-year-old from a large, blue-collar family.

He said Anderson’s treatments made him uncomfortable but that he was trained through wrestling “to do as he was ordered by those in positions in authority.”