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University finalizes $490M settlement with athletic doctor’s sexual abuse victims

A $490 million settlement between the University of Michigan and the 1,000+ survivors of Dr. Robert Anderson’s alleged sexual abuse was finalized on Friday, MLive reported.

In January 2022, UM originally agreed to settle with the 1,050 victims for $460 million, setting aside $30 million in reserve for any unidentified victims.

For the settlement to be finalized, it had to be approved by 98% of the claimants.

The university reported Friday that an agreement between the parties was reached with the help of a third-party mediator, Robert F. Riley, appointed by U.S. District Court Judge Victoria A. Roberts.

The division of funds will be determined by the claimants and their attorneys.

The university’s Board of Regents Chair Paul Brown said, “The University of Michigan offers its heartfelt apology for the abuse perpetrated by the late Robert Anderson. We hope this settlement helps the healing process for survivors.”

Anderson was employed with UM from 1966 to 2003. He passed away in 2008. The university received nearly 1,200 reports of rape accusations against the late athletic doctor.

In February 2020, former UM wrestler Tad DeLuca accused the late doctor of abusing him in 1975. DeLuca wrote a letter to the university’s Athletic Director Warde Manuel, exposing the sexual abuse.

As a result of the public accusations from DeLuca, more than a thousand former students claimed that the doctor unnecessarily penetrated them with his fingers during physical exams.

Of the 1,212 rapes reported to the university in the 2020 fiscal year, all but 18 of them were allegations against Anderson.

An internal investigation was launched in 2018. On May 11, 2021, the university released a 240-page WilmerHale report detailing the findings of its investigation into Anderson’s sexual abuse.

The report alleged that the doctor had abused students and athletes for decades. It also accused some faculty of being aware of the ongoing abuse but failing to take appropriate action against Anderson.

In response to the recent wave of sexual abuse allegations, the university announced earlier this year the creation of the Equity, Civil Rights, and Title IX Office, responsible for investigating misconduct cases.

“This settlement allows the university to protect future generations of students and everyone in the university community. It complements a separate settlement reached earlier this year that adds a Coordinated Community Response Team to the best practices now in place. We are committed to a safe, welcoming environment for everyone at Michigan,” stated UM President Mary Sue Coleman.