Suit alleges that current Michigan employee knew of ex-doctor's sexual abuse

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A current Michigan staffer has been named in a lawsuit regarding a former school doctor's sexual abuses. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
A current Michigan staffer has been named in a lawsuit regarding a former school doctor's sexual abuses. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

A lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court alleges that a current University of Michigan athletic department employee was aware of a former school doctor’s sexual abuse.

The suit is filed on behalf of a former football player who said he was sexually abused in the 1980s by Robert Anderson. The doctor worked for the school from 1968-2003 and died in 2008.

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In the suit, the former player says that current assistant athletic director Eric Schmidt knew about the abuse when he was a trainer for the team in the 1980s.

From the Detroit News: 

The former football player said he was a freshman who got a required physical from Anderson. During the appointment, the man alleges, the doctor groped his penis and testicles "for an inordinately long period of time." Afterward, he ran into Schmidt, then a football trainer, according to the lawsuit.

"{Schmidt) laughed and told Plaintiff, 'get used to that' — which Plaintiff understood as referring to Dr. Anderson’s putative medical treatment," according to the lawsuit.

Schmidt told the News that he had no knowledge of any allegations against Anderson and couldn’t remember the alleged interaction detailed in the suit. He is now the fifth employee who has been accused of knowing about Anderson’s alleged abuses and the first current Michigan employee to be named in a lawsuit surrounding the doctor’s alleged actions.

Michigan asked former patients of Anderson’s if they were victims of alleged sexual abuses in February. That request came after an investigation was opened in the summer of 2018 after a former athlete came forward to athletic director Warde Manuel.

“The allegations that were reported are disturbing and very serious,” UM president Mark Schlissel said in a statement on Feb. 19. “We promptly began a police investigation and cooperated fully with the prosecutor’s office. As part of our commitment to understanding what happened and inform any changes we might need to make, we now are taking the next step to reach out to determine who else might be affected or have additional information to share. Every person in our community should expect to feel safe and supported.”

Earlier in March, an attorney representing a player on Michigan’s 1997 national title team said his client was abused by Anderson. Since Anderson is deceased, criminal charges are not possible as a result of any investigation into his alleged actions.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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