In a recent episode of the podcast Open Mike, Mike Morse and Kevin Dietz sat down with Attorney MikeCox. Cox represents 50 male athletes who are suing the University of Michigan regarding sexual abuse claims from athletic doctor, Robert E. Anderson. The first complaint regarding Dr. Anderson emerged in 1968 and Dr. Anderson remained employed by the University until 2003.
Before Dr. Anderson was an athletic doctor, he worked at and eventually became the head of, University Health Service, an on-campus health center for students and affiliates. However, after several abuse complaints emerged, Dr. Anderson was removed from that position in 1980. Although he was removed from this position, he was re-hired by the athletic department by the athletic director. The school claimed he resigned from University Health Service and he was allowed to work in the athletic department.
While many others were abused, Cox has limited his representation to athletes that were abused during Dr. Anderson’s tenure in the athletic department. Cox estimates that hundreds, perhaps thousands,
were abused during Dr. Anderson’s career. His plaintiffs are suing the university not only for the abuse but also to change the system that allows for a doctor to stay in a position of power after numerous complaints and no investigation. Cox explains that the doctor had power over student-athletes. He could determine whether or not the athletes would play in their next event. If they didn’t cooperate with his outrageous behavior, they could potentially lose their scholarship. One student-athlete who reported Dr. Anderson’s crimes lost his scholarship according to Cox.
Cox states that the university not only covered up the actions of Dr. Anderson at the time, but there is also a cover-up going on today by the current administration. Cox criticizes how long it took the university to act and praises the Detroit News for breaking the story and revealing the truth to the public. There have been several recent sexual abuse cases for Big Ten universities including Dr. Larry Nassar of Michigan State University, Dr. Richard Strauss of Ohio State University, and Jerry Sandusky of Pennsylvania State University.
Dr. Anderson died in 2008 and therefore isn’t able to respond to allegations or receive criminal charges. Many may question if the case is too old to go trial. Cox responds in the podcast, saying that because the university covered up the allegations for so long, the statute of limitations is not an issue and the case can still be tried.
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Mike Cox is a former prosecutor and served as Michigan’s 52nd Attorney General. He obtained both his undergraduate and a law degree from the University of Michigan after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. He currently runs a private practice firm that takes clients with a wide variety of case types.