In 1969, a young Matt Schembechler was sitting in the family home in Ann Arbor, waiting for his father to come in. He had news he needed to share – he had been sexually assaulted by his father’s doctor, Bo Schembechler, so in the first year of what has turned into an iconic career as the team’s coach. University of Michigan footballer, had sent him for a routine physical exam.
He thought it would end the doctor’s career at the University of Michigan.
This is not the case.
Dr. Robert Anderson worked as a physician at the University of Michigan until 2002, most notably as chief medical officer of Schembechler’s teams.
Hundreds of University of Michigan athletes have accused Anderson of sexually assaulting them, including stroking their genitals and giving them rectal exams, even when they presented with sore elbows or throats. Other Michigan students accused Anderson of granting Vietnam War project deferrals in exchange for sex. Hundreds of men have sued college for failing to arrest Anderson. The cases are currently in mediation in Federal Court.
On Thursday afternoon, Matt Schembechler, along with Daniel Kwiatkowski, a 1977-79 Michigan offensive lineman, and Gilvanni Johnson, a 1982-86 wide receiver who also played for the Detroit Lions in 1987, will hold a press to detail their allegations. According to a press release, Kwiatkowski was assaulted by Anderson four times and Johnson was assaulted 15 times.
“The thing with Dr. Anderson (and) Bo has stuck with me for years,” Matt Schembechler told Free Press in a phone conversation Wednesday night. “It was hurtful, I felt betrayed. The coverage of what happened at MSU with Dr Nassar really woke me up.”
AFTER:Bo Schembechler’s son to discuss team doctor’s sexual abuse and father’s failure to protect him
He said some players he knew have also spoken about Anderson’s abuse lately and that it has helped him as he thought to come forward to “help make sure that no one else has to. live something like this “.
The press release states that Kwiatkowski was first assaulted during his first team physical exam in 1977, and when he reported the conduct to his coach, Bo Schembechler said Kwiatkowski should “toughen up” .
According to the press release, Johnson told his trainer he was assaulted by Anderson during his first physical exam in 1982, but after Schembechler said he would discuss it with medical staff, no changes were made. been brought.
In May, an investigation by the law firm WilmerHale concluded that Anderson’s misconduct had been reported “several times between 1978 and 1981”, but that a “senior university administrator … was not taken the appropriate measures “.
In 1968, Anderson was just starting his career in Michigan. Bo Schembechler married Matt’s mother, Millie, and then, in 1969, left the University of Miami in Ohio, where he had been a head coach, to come to Ann Arbor.
Once in Ann Arbor, Matt wanted to play in youth sports. Schembechler sent him to Anderson for a mandatory physical exam.
Anderson stroked Matt’s genitals and digitally penetrated him.
He told his mother, Millie, right away.
“Even when I was little I knew it was really bad,” he said. “I knew if I told her, she would tell me if it was wrong.”
Millie, a nurse, was upset and told Matt he needed to talk to Bo about it when he got home from practice.
Bo exploded in anger, Matt recalls. “I don’t want to hear that,” said Matt Bo, adding that Bo also said “never talk to me about this again”.
Nothing happened to Anderson, so a little later Millie walked up the street to her neighbor, then-athletic director Don Canham, who would also become a legend in the history of the sports department.
“I thought he was the bee’s knees so I was comfortable talking to him,” Matt said.
Canham came to Schembechler’s while Bo was in training. Matt told him the same story. Don shut up and said he would take care of it.
Young Matt thought that meant Anderson would be fired.
Later he heard Bo and Millie arguing and heard Bo say something about the need for Anderson on his team.
Anderson continued to be heavily involved with all kinds of aspects of the sports department, including the football team. In letters, memos, postcards, meeting minutes, and other official documents documenting Canham and Schembechler’s time in Michigan, Anderson’s name appears regularly. It can be found in letters documenting ideas discussed during football teams’ air travel; on lists of hotel stays for bowls, and even in less than flattering reviews of his doctorate, a free press review of boxes of documents stored at the Michigan Bentley Historical Library exhibit.
Canham died in 2005. Bo Schembechler died a year later. Anderson died in 2008.
Over the next several years, Matt got his physical exams from someone else. But in 1975, Matt, now a sophomore in high school, needed a physical exam.
With the next door doctor gone, Bo referred Matt to Anderson. Anderson sexually assaulted Matt again.
During those early years at Ann Arbor, all of the football staff, including the Schembechlers and Andersons, hung out a lot.
“We were all really close,” Matt said. “It was our social network. It was really cool, a really wonderful situation, with the exception of Dr. Anderson.”
Michigan current coach Jim Harbaugh defended his former coach’s reputation last week when asked about Anderson’s situation at a football camp in Ferris State.
“I can tell you this,” Harbaugh said. “Bo Schembechler… there was nothing I saw when I was a kid here, my dad was on staff or when I played here… he never sat on anything. never procrastinated on anything. He was careful He’s the Bo Schembechler I know. There is nothing that has ever been swept under the rug or ignored. He took care of everything. timely. This is the Bo Schembechler I knew.