Multiple allegations of sexual misconduct brought against former director of UHS, ‘U’ team physician

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 9:19pm

Dr. Robert E. Anderson, former team physician of the University of Michigan and director of University Health Services, faces sexual assault allegations.

Dr. Robert E. Anderson, former team physician of the University of Michigan and director of University Health Services, faces sexual assault allegations. Buy this photo
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Multiple people have brought sexual assault allegations against Robert E. Anderson, former team physician of the University of Michigan and director of University Health Services.

In July 2018, a former University athlete wrote to Athletic Director Warde Manuel detailing alleged sexual abuses Anderson committed in medical exams in the 1970s. 

After the athlete reported the misconduct, the Division of Public Safety and Security opened an investigation and called for Anderson’s former patients to contact the University.

In an email to the Daily, University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said five former patients came forward as part of the DPSS investigation. 

In a University statement, Fitzgerald said the University received allegations of misconduct against Anderson regarding sexual abuse and unnecessary medical examinations in the 1970s, with one occurring as late as the 1990s. 

Anderson retired from the University in 2003 and died in 2008. 

University alum Robert Julian Stone, now retired in Palm Springs, California, wrote to the University in August 2019 about his encounter with Anderson at a UHS medical examination, according to a Detroit News article

During the examination, Anderson allegedly pulled down his pants and forced Stone to touch his genitals. 

“It gave me a firsthand knowledge that these things happen to men and that wasn’t a knowledge I particularly wanted to have,” Stone said in an interview with The Detroit News. “‘Me too’ includes men too.”

According to the interview, Stone emailed the University reporting the allegations on Aug 18, 2019.  Stone, who spoke on the phone with University police detectives after reporting the misconduct, says when the University became aware of allegations against Anderson, he was transferred from his position at UHS to become the team physician for University athletes. 

A statement released Wednesday said the University is connecting victims to counseling resources and will continue to update the community on the University investigation being conducted by Steptoe & Johnson, a law firm based in Washington D.C. specializing in investigations. 

“The allegations that were reported are disturbing and very serious,” said University President Mark Schlissel in the statement. “We promptly began a police investigation and cooperated fully with the prosecutor’s office.”

Steven Hiller, chief assistant prosecutor at the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office, told The Daily the office received the report about Anderson’s misconduct in the spring of 2019 and reviewed the possibility of criminal prosecution. The statute of limitations for sexual assault expired decades ago.  

“There really was no viable avenue for any prosecution, in this case, because of the age (of the allegations) and because the suspect was deceased,” Hiller said. 

The allegations come after the University placed Provost Martin Philbert on administrative leave following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, and University EECS Professor Jason Mars additionally faces allegations of sexual misconduct. 

This is a developing story. Check back at michigandaily.com for updates.

Reporter Julia Rubin can be reached at julrubin@umich.edu.