School officials and those close to the agreement say the University of Michigan has agreed to a $490 million settlement with more than 1,000 former athletes and students, who say they were sexually assaulted by the school’s former sports doctor.
An attorney for the plaintiffs told the Associated Press all 1,050 of those joining the lawsuit against former university doctor Robert Anderson will share the settlement. The claimants — many of whom were men who filed their suits anonymously — say the university knew what Anderson was doing but failed to act.
Anderson worked at the university for 37 years, from 1968 to 2003 and was the director of the university's health center and the physician for several sports teams.
Many of those who came forward were football players and other athletes who say Anderson touched their genitals inappropriately during routine examinations. Some of his accusers say his activities had become so well known among Michigan athletes, he became known to many of them as "Dr. Drop Your Drawers" and "Dr. Glove."
The Detroit Free Press reports some of the accusations go as far back as the late 1960s and early 1970s, when some accusers allege Anderson traded sexual favors for letters to draft boards establishing men as homosexual and thus making them eligible for a draft deferment.
After a number of football players and other athletes came forward to accuse Anderson, who died in 2008, of sexually abusing them, the school hired an independent firm to investigate the allegations and its report was released last May.
The independent firm reported, based on the evidence, there was no doubt Anderson “engaged in a pervasive, decades-long, destructive pattern of sexual misconduct." It went on to say the school missed many opportunities to stop Anderson, but it failed to do so during his career.
The Free Press reports a portion of the settlement money will be set aside for future settlements.
Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press and Reuters.