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Sexual Misconduct University of Michigan – Everything You Need to Know

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

A case involving sex abuse at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor broke this past week. The president of the University of Michigan, Mark Schlissel, apologized on Thursday to anybody who was harmed by the actions of the late doctor Robert E. Anderson.

If you or anyone you know has been the victim of sexual abuse or assault, the law offices of Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C., are here to help. Our experienced team of personal injury lawyers can help you understand the intricacies of Michigan’s sexual abuse laws.

Details of the Case

Dr. Anderson was the director of the University Health Service and the physician for the University of Michigan’s football team. The doctor has been accused of multiple instances of sexual misconduct and abuse.

The University announced that, as of Wednesday, it was launching an investigation into reports of sexual misconduct during the time Anderson served in a professional capacity at the University. In late February 2020, at least 22 people called the hotline that the University set up to field calls about the doctor’s sexual misconduct.

The accusers, who are mostly men, state that the doctor fondled them during physical exams. One athlete, a former Olympic wrestler, maintained that the doctor’s proclivities were well-known and that he had been warned about the doctor’s comportment.

The doctor’s alleged criminal sexual conduct stretched back decades, with one caller, 72-year-old Gary Bailey, telling The Detroit News that he first reported the unwanted sexual contact in 1968. This may indicate a coverup or a negligent investigation into the student’s claims by the University.

Dr. Robert E. Anderson worked at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor from 1968 until he retired in 2003. The accusers are filing a lawsuit against the University since the physician passed away in 2008.

It was a former student’s essay, “My Michigan Me Too Moment 1971,” that prompted the University’s police force to investigate the alleged sex crimes in 2018.

Five of the doctor’s former patients have alleged that they are victims of sexual abuse in the guise of unnecessary medical examinations. Additionally, officials at the University have acknowledged that they were aware of some of the late doctor’s misconduct, but the details of this are unclear.


A meeting of the school’s Board of Regents opened Thursday with a statement from University President, Mark Schlissel, who stated, “On behalf of the University, I apologize to anyone who was harmed by Dr. Anderson.”

The wounds from the recent case involving Michigan State University gymnastics coach Larry Nassar’s admission and conviction are still raw for some residents of Michigan. Many of Anderson’s accusers note that they are anxious about personal or professional backlash from their allegations.

The University is weathering a few lawsuits, as they had to suspend their Provost after sexual assault cases were filed against him as well. Professor Phulbert has been placed on administrative leave following the accusations.

Title IX and More

Sexual abuse is defined as unwanted sexual behavior from one adult to another. Generally, for students at universities, student sexual misconduct, abuse, or assault fall under Title IX. Title IX is a federal law requiring schools, institutions, and universities to have a system in place to deal with allegations of sexual abuse or assault.

Michigan’s Department of Education released a document entailing the responsibilities of a Title IX coordinator.

Another step towards facilitating the victim’s desire for justice is the institution of Offices for Institutional Equity, which handles all of students’ complaints involving discrimination due to ethnicities, gender-based misconduct, and more. Often these offices are understaffed and overworked, but at least steps have been taken at many institutions.

Lawsuit Classifications

The two types of lawsuits a victim can file for allegations of sexual abuse or assault in Michigan civil suits and criminal suits. A civil lawsuit is between two people, whereas a criminal lawsuit is between the victim and the state.

There is no statute of limitations for a criminal sexual abuse case in the first degree in Michigan. If the sexual abuse case occurs when a victim is under 18, they have 15 years or by their 28th birthday to file a complaint. If the sexual abuse case is in the second, third, or fourth degree, then the statute of limitations is 10 years or when the victim turns 21, whichever comes later.

Michigan personal injury laws govern the statute of limitations for the law of discovery in victims over the age of 28. Victims must file a claim within 3 years of the time they discover they are victims of sexual abuse.

These particular designations do not include elder abuse, sexual harassment cases, student sexual or gender-based crimes towards one another like intimate partner violence. To truly understand all of these important details, it’s crucial to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in the Ann Arbor, Dearborn, or Flint areas.

Sexual Misconduct University of Michigan

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If you are the victim of unwanted sexual conduct in a professional or academic setting and want reparation for any pain and suffering you’ve experienced, you have some choices.

To fully understand the complicated machinations of the laws and statutes governing sexual abuse and assault cases in Michigan, it is crucial to seek legal advice. Contact the law firm of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., for a free consultation about your next steps.

Contact us toll-free at 866-MICH-LAW or contact us online by using our convenient form to schedule your free consultation.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Mary MacInnes grew up in the Northeast and attended school and graduate school there. Professionally, she's been a professor, novelist, and writes for law blogs. In her free time, she likes to travel and read biographies of various Justices of the Peace.



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