The University of Michigan reached a $490 million settlement to be paid to 1,050 student-athletes who accused Dr. Robert Anderson of sexually abusing them during routine medical exams. 

“It has been a long and challenging journey and I believe this settlement will provide justice and healing for the many brave men and women who refused to be silenced," said attorney Parker Stinar of the Denver-based law firm Wahlberg, Woodruff, Nimmo & Sloane, which represents dozens of Anderson accusers.

The settlement will pay $460 million to Anderson’s victims, leaving $30 million for any future accusers who come forward. Each accuser will receive an average of $438,000.

The abuse involves victims of multiple generations and dates back to the 1960s. Anderson worked with the university from 1966 to his retirement in 2003 and died five years later in 2008. Wrestler Tad DeLuca was the first athlete to accuse Anderson of sexual abuse in 1975 when he told his coach, Bill Johannesen, and athletic director at the time, Don Canham, that he was routinely fondled by Anderson and given an unnecessary rectal exam.  

DeLuca said Anderson was known as, “Dr. Drop Your Drawers Anderson.” DeLuca said he wasn’t believed and was later kicked off the team. DeLuca remained determined to seek justice for himself and the rest of Anderson’s victims and in 2018 police in Washtenaw County, Michigan, launched an investigation of Anderson based on a second letter DeLuca wrote.

“The settlement is going to gloss things over so Michigan can go back to having a glossy block 'M' and look wonderful for the world. But the situation on campus is horrible,” DeLuca said Wednesday in a telephone interview.

A report by a firm hired by the university determined the staff missed multiple opportunities to hold Anderson accountable during his career. One instance involved the son of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, Matt, who told his father Anderson had molested him in 1969 when he was 10 years old. Schembechler didn’t believe his son and his mother Millie tried to get Anderson fired, but Schembechler had Anderson reinstated. 

The deal came as two more men came forward detailing how they were victimized by Anderson and they were hoping a change in leadership with the firing of university President Mark Schlissel would hold the school accountable. Schlissel was fired for an inappropriate relationship with his subordinate. 

Other sexual abuse scandals at universities in recent years have included Michigan State Univesity’s agreement to pay $500 million to 300 women victimized by Larry Nassar, who worked for the university as a sports director and a doctor for USA gymnastics. Penn State University paid $100 million to 35 victims of child sex abuser Jerry Sandusky in May 2018. The University of Southern California paid $852 million to more than 700 women who accused campus gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall of sexual abuse.