FOX 2 – Attorneys for several Black male victims said on Wednesday that Anderson preyed on African-American men, knowing they would be less likely to be believed.
They made the argument that they were a vulnerable population, exploited by a predator, the late Dr. Robert Anderson at the University of Michigan.
“Anderson found that vulnerability, he exposed that vulnerability,” said attorney Jamie White. “It was exposed to the University of Michigan and they buried it. They buried it at the expense of these men and to bolster their bottom line and their brand.”
These attorneys represent nearly 200 people who say they were sexually abused by Anderson.
“This is the most appalling sexual assault against a group of African Americans in the history of this country,” said attorney White.
Despite the University of Michigan having a Black population in the single digits, percentage-wise, attorneys for the survivors say nearly half of Anderson’s victims are Black men.
“He knew that the university would not protect this group regardless of how outrageous, dangerous or perverse his conduct was,” said attorney Parker Stinar.
The claim is over more than 40 years, victim after victim spoke up about what Anderson was allegedly doing to them and those reports fell on deaf ears.
Attorneys claiming high-level U-M coaches and staff were made aware, even legendary football coach Bo Schembechler. They want fair treatment in righting serious wrongs.
“How much is a University of Michigan victim worth, who Dr. Anderson attempted to masturbate, how much is a U of M victim worth who experienced genital touching and groping,” asked Stinar.
Dwight Hicks was the 1977 captain of the University of Michigan football team, who went on to become a two-time Super Bowl champion. He wouldn’t go into specifics avoiding sordid details survivors have had to relive over and over again in their minds.
“I don’t think elaborating on what happened to me, it doesn’t do any justice. We all know,” said Hicks.
“I endured inappropriate sexual behavior at Schembechler Hall as a former student-athlete,” said Dr. Airron Richardson.
Richardson, a student at U-M from 1994 to 1998, says he too survived Anderson’s abuse. He’s now a medical doctor himself and understands the tremendous breach of trust involved in what Anderson is accused of doing.
“He used the inherent trust people have for doctors in a university setting and twisted it, in such a sinister way,” Richardson said.
U-M released a statement it reads in part:
“We remain confident in the independent nature of the WilmerHale investigation. At the University of Michigan, we condemn all sexual misconduct. We have great admiration for all of the former U-M athletes and students who are bravely stepping forward to share their stories. Because of this ongoing investigation and separate pending litigation, there is nothing more we can share.”
Attorneys representing the victims say they have concerns about the Wilmer Hale investigation and want to make sure it is independent and demonstrates the depth of institutional failure as well as the alleged cover-up by the University of Michigan.
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