Penn State had Jerry Sandusky. Michigan State had Larry Nassar. Ohio State had Richard Strauss. And now, it’s becoming increasingly, sadly clear that Michigan was aware it had a monster of its own in its midst and failed to stop him.
Dan Murphy reported for ESPN on Friday that Michigan’s current head athletic trainer Paul Schmidt knew of and joked about sexual abuse allegedly committed by Wolverines football team doctor Robert Anderson.
According to court documents obtained by Murphy, two anonymous Michigan football players testified that Schmidt and a second employee named “Murph” regularly told players to go see Anderson knowing full well of his reputation.
Anderson, who died in 2008, has been accused of sexually assaulting patients by performing unnecessary rectal exams and “excessive” fondling of patients’ genitals.
“It was always just, like, hey, go see Dr. A. Go drop your drawers. I specifically remember Schmidty’s laugh about it,” one of the players said. “Like I can see him doing it. Murph was a little more quiet. I definitely remember Schmidty laughin’ and cacklin’ about it.”
More than 300 individuals have retained legal representation in regards to Anderson’s alleged abuse, as the University of Michigan, its board of regents and Anderson’s estate brace for a barrage of lawsuits.
“The University of Michigan failed them,” attorney Mick Grewal said in a news release Friday morning. “Failed to protect them, failed to stop an alleged serial predator. We represent and have spoken with over 100 survivors, including professional and collegiate football players, wrestlers, golfers, hockey players, pilots, and people from all walks of life and the pattern is the same. Over the last 4 decades, multiple employees at the University, including Assistant AD Paul Schmidt could have stopped Anderson.”
The Detroit News reported in February that Anderson was fired for sexual abuse by the U of M’s University Health Service in 1979, but continued working for the athletics department for another 24 years.
“The university has confidence in the independent investigation now underway by the WilmerHale law firm,” university spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said Friday morning. “This firm has deep expertise to conduct a thorough and unflinching review of the facts — wherever they may lead.”
In the meantime, Murphy reported that Schmidt remains employed by Michigan. Schmidt has been at Michigan since 1986 and currently carries the title of assistant AD, head athletic trainer and rehabilitation specialist.