Report: Lawsuit alleges former Michigan head coach Bo Schembechler knew of sexual abuse by team doctor
Editor’s note: This story has been edited from its original format based on recent comments from the former student who filed a federal lawsuit on Thursday morning.
A federal lawsuit that was filed on Thursday alleges that legendary Michigan head coach Bo Schembechler knew of the alleged sexual abuse that was occurring involving ex-team doctor Robert E. Anderson. The Detroit News reported about the lawsuit on Thursday morning.
Per the report, Schembechler was made aware of the abuse by a former student in 1982 and 1983 who had been seeing Dr. Anderson for migraines. The former head coach then sent that student to Michigan athletic director Donald Canham.
From The Detroit News:
“The revelations involving the failure to act on the part of Bo Schembechler are troubling but should not be surprising,” said Okemos-based lawyer Jamie White, who is part of the team of lawyers filing the lawsuits. “We have seen this trend play out with institutions all over the country, including but not limited to (Penn State University Coach Joe) Paterno, leadership in the Catholic Church and Boy Scouts of America, and most recently Michigan State University.”
“The Schembechler revelations are going to be disturbing to many but the university will not heal and be able to move forward from this horrific period until there is a complete accounting of what went wrong,” added White, who also represented 60 accusers of serial sex abuser Larry Nassar, a former MSU sports doctor.
Schembechler, who was the head coach from 1969-89, is now one of six University of Michigan officials who were allegedly made aware of the abuse that was occurring by Anderson.
The lawsuit filed by the student stated that he visited Anderson for migraine headaches under the guidance of Schembechler. The individual claims to have been “penetrated rectally under the guise of medical treatment.” After reporting the abuse to Schembechler, the head coach told the student to inform Canham of the situation, according to the lawsuit.
The former student, who is referred to as John Doe, said in an interview on Thursday morning that he does not blame Schembechler, who he says urged him to immediately inform Canham of the situation.
“I cannot blame Bo for not being able to come forward,” the individual said, according to ESPN. “…This was Don Canham’s job.”
Schembechler, Canham and Anderson are all deceased.
More information on the lawsuit can be found at The Detroit News.