Bo Schembechler’s son says his father knew doctor mistreated athletes

Matt Schembechler, 62, will speak about “his own abuse by Dr Anderson and his father’s failure to protect him and other athletes,” lawyer Mick Grewal said.

The coach’s son will be joined by two previously unnamed former football players, Daniel Kwiatkowski and Gilvanni Johnson, who were cited in a report commissioned by UM which revealed that the university had received hundreds of allegations at about Dr. Robert Anderson – over the decades – and had failed. to act, said attorney Mick Grewal. The ex-players say they also spoke to the coach about Anderson’s abuse, Grewal said.

Bo Schembechler died in 2006, Anderson two years later.

In an interview with ESPN, Junior Schembechler says Anderson assaulted him during a physical exam in the 1960s when he was 10, and his foster father Bo Schembechler punched him when he reported the abuse.

“It blew me away in the whole kitchen,” he told Sports Channel.

Last month, the law firm WilmerHale released a 240 page report alleging that Anderson, who worked at the university from 1966 to 2003, transferred from the university’s health services to the sports department in 1981 after Thomas Easthope, assistant vice president of student services, received “credible reports of misconduct” in 1978 or 1979.

An alleged victim told the company that Eastope told him that Anderson would stop seeing patients, but Anderson “continued to provide medical services to student-athletes and other patients – and to indulge himself. to sexual misconduct with a large number of them “until his retirement, according to the report. Easthope told investigators he confronted and fired Anderson, “but Mr. Easthope didn’t,” according to the report. Easthope died in February.

Sports officials have also “heard jokes or rumors about Dr Anderson’s exams,” but none of them took action to investigate, according to the report.

“There is no reasonable explanation,” the report concludes, for Easthope’s failure to respond to “rumors and innuendos surrounding Dr Anderson.”

University apologizes

The report was based on interviews with hundreds of former Anderson patients and “about 200 current and former University employees, including administrators, faculty and coaches, as well as others ( University Health Services), Department of Sports, and Michigan Medical Staff “.

Kwiatkowski and Johnson are among the sources and shared anonymously with investigators that they told Bo Schembechler about Anderson’s behavior, Grewal told CNN.

After the report was released, University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel said the university offered “his sincere apologies for the abuse perpetrated by the late Robert Anderson.”

“We will thoughtfully and diligently review and assess the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the report; and we will work to regain the trust of survivors and ensure that we foster a safe environment for our students, our employees and our community, ”Schlissel wrote.

The allegations already resembled those against Larry nassar at Michigan State University and Richard strauss at Ohio State University – doctors accused of using their positions to assault students and athletes. Strauss committed suicide in 2005. Nassar is serving up to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty to criminal sexual conduct.
The addition of Bo Schembechler now draws comparisons to Penn State, where later coach icon Joe Paterno faced allegations that he did nothing for Jerry Sandusky, his assistant for 30 years, sexually assaults boys on team premises and other locations. A jury found Sandusky guilty of 45 counts of child abuse in 2012. He is serving a sentence of up to 60 years in prison.

All three cases concern allegations that powerful institutions have ignored or dismissed complaints of sexual misconduct.

Other alleged victims have come forward

Former wrestler Thomas DeLuca attended University of Michigan in 2018 share a report of suspected abuse by Anderson, who he said “examined his penis, did a hernia exam and performed a digital rectal exam without explaining why such exams were necessary.”

In 1975, he spoke to his trainer about the abuse, which started three years earlier, DeLuca said. He lost his scholarship and was kicked from the team, he said.

Two other wrestlers, including Olympian Andy Hrovat, sat alongside DeLuca at a press conference in 2020, detailing their own allegations of abuse. Dwight Hicks, former San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts goaltender made allegations later that year.
Chuck Christian, who played the tight end for the Wolverines in the late 1970s and early 1980s, told CNN in May 2020 that he, too, was abused by Anderson and that the doctor’s unnecessary rectal examinations discouraged him from seeing doctors later in his life.
Chuck Christian played the tight end for the Michigan Wolverines from 1977 to 1981.

He’s now battling prostate cancer, which he says could have been diagnosed earlier if he wasn’t afraid of doctors. Christian knows of other Anderson victim players who suffered illnesses because of fear of seeing doctors, he said.

“He hurt so many people, and in my opinion he didn’t just rape the 18-year-old freshman footballer – he raped the men we became. He raped husbands once we did. we are married. He raped the father of my children. He raped the grandfather of my grandchildren, “he told CNN last month. “It has affected us for generations, and no one will know how many generations of what Anderson did will affect us.”

In a 2020 interview, however, Christian bristled at comparisons between Paterno and Bo Schembechler, saying he was an excellent coach and was not to blame for Anderson’s abuse. Still, he was “disappointed to find Michigan didn’t have the integrity that the players did,” he said.

Other son: “Bo would have done something”

The Hall of Fame coach has other supporters, including his biological son, who ever told ESPN that his father knew nothing about Anderson’s abuse.

“I can tell you unequivocally that no one has ever said anything to Bo,” Glenn Schembechler told the network last year. “Bo would have done something.”

Current Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh also defended his predecessor. Standing outside the football building that bears Schembechler’s name and features a statue of the late coach, Harbaugh told reporters he had not seen any such behavior as a youngster or as a Michigan quarterback. in the 1980s, according to The Detroit News.

“There’s nothing that I saw when I was a kid here – my dad was on the staff – or when I played here. He never sat on anything. He didn’t. never procrastinated on anything, “Harbaugh told the newspaper. “He took care of it before sunset. He’s the Bo Schembechler I know. Nothing has ever been swept under the rug or ignored.”

Anderson’s children also came to their father’s defense, telling The Detroit News last year, they didn’t believe the accusations. Kurt Anderson said: “It’s just not him,” and Jill Anderson called the allegations ridiculous.

“My father was a beloved doctor at UM for so many years,” the doctor’s daughter told the newspaper. “He was highly respected. Everyone said he treated them with the utmost integrity and care.”

According to the WilmerHale report, many patients abused by Anderson were members of sensitive populations – including LGBTQ patients, student-athletes vying for scholarships, and patients seeking medical exemption from the Vietnam War – and “felt that they had no choice but to respect Dr. Anderson’s abuse.

Some of the alleged victims left their teams, while others questioned their sexuality, sought advice or dropped out of school, according to the report.

“The trauma caused by Dr. Anderson’s misconduct persists to this day,” the report said.

CNN’s Rebekah Riess and Alec Snyder contributed to this report.

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