Alum says he told UM of doctor's sex abuse in '68 but never got a response

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

Another University of Michigan alumnus has come forward to say he was sexually abused by the late Dr. Robert E. Anderson — and that he alerted UM but never heard back from anyone.

Gary Bailey, who earned three degrees from UM, alleges Anderson assaulted him during a medical exam in 1968. The now-deceased former director of the University Health Service was team physician for UM football teams led by former coaches Bo Schembechler and Lloyd Carr.

The late Dr. Robert E. Anderson, from a retirement announcement.

After the alleged incident, Bailey, then an undergraduate, said he told some of his friends, then went to the UM health service and filled out a form, complaining that Anderson had dropped his pants and asked him to fondle his genitals during the exam.

"This happened to me 50-52 years ago, but I have never forgotten it," said Bailey, 72, who lives in Dowagiac, in southwest Michigan. "It was very traumatic."

At the start of Thursday's meeting of the UM Board of Regents, university President Mark Schlissel apologized "on behalf of the university, to anyone who was harmed by Dr. Anderson."

Bailey called the UM hotline Wednesday after he got a call from a friend who'd read a Detroit News report detailing abuse allegations against Anderson. In an interview, Bailey told The News that his experience was remarkably similar to the alleged account detailed by Robert Stone, the first to speak publicly about alleged abuse by Anderson. 

He also called The News, in hopes that others will come forward.

"So this will never happen again," said Bailey. "Hopefully with the 'Me Too' movement, we are slowing things down."

Bailey's was not the only call to the hotline since the Anderson case became public on Wednesday.

UM spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said Thursday that UM's Compliance Hotline, (866) 990-0111, is an "existing hotline used for any compliance matters."

"Specific to Dr. Anderson, the university's goal is to reach out directly to callers within 24 hours," Fitzgerald said. "As of this morning, the hotline has received 22 calls."

Fitzgerald did not specifically comment on Bailey's allegations.

"We are carefully reviewing information from all of those who are coming forward to share information," he said.

In an email Wednesday evening, Fitzgerald made a statement regarding whether anyone had told UM officials about alleged sexual misconduct by Anderson.

"It is our understanding from the police investigation that there were rumors and some indication that UM staff members were aware of Dr. Anderson’s inappropriate medical exams,” he said.

UM officials said Wednesday that the university's police department opened an investigation of allegations against Anderson in July 2018.

Bailey's allegation brings the known number of Anderson's alleged victims to six. His alleged experience occurred three years before the alleged incident described by Stone.

It comes as UM is investigating allegations of sexual misconduct against Provost Martin Philbert, who was put on leave last month, and the UM Board of Regents met Thursday afternoon for the first time since that case and the allegations against Anderson emerged.

This week, UM said 19 months had passed since the first allegation emerged against Anderson, and that an investigation had identified four other victims with similar allegations. 

The case was turned over to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office, which said this week that it concluded its review last fall and decided no charges would be filed because Anderson had died in 2008 and that the statute of limitations had expired to bring any potential ancillary charges against others.

UM announced the allegations and investigation Wednesday after inquiries this week from The News about Stone's account. Fitzgerald said then that the Prosecutor's Office had finished its review Tuesday. 

UM also said it had hired an outside law firm, publicized its hotline number for alleged victims of sexual misconduct and asked any others with similar allegations against Anderson to come forward.

Bailey worked as teacher and librarian locally and across the country after earning from UM a bachelor's degree in English and two master's degrees in English and library science.

He said the alleged incident with Anderson occurred when he went to see him while at UM because he had thought he had a sexually transmitted disease. He said he saw Anderson three or four times.

The alleged misconduct happened during only one of the appointments.

"I wish my story were a little different from Stone's, but it’s not," said Bailey. "He (the doctor) had me drop my pants, he felt my penis and genitals and subsequently, he wanted me to feel his penis and genitals. I can to this day remember what his penis looked like."

Bailey's description of Anderson's penis was the same as Stone's.

Bailey said the doctor also wanted him to masturbate him.

"It didn’t seem right," said Bailey. "Back then, you didn’t question a doctor’s authority. But it did seem strange. He asked me to pull on his penis. I did, then stopped."

Bailey said he wondered if the alleged assault with Anderson occurred because of his vulnerability as a gay man at a time when that was not socially acceptable.

"Gay people had to keep a lot of things hidden back then," Bailey said. "Maybe he thought he could get away with it."

He told people about it, and then went to complain about Anderson on a form. He doesn't recall using the term "sexual abuse," so he believes he described the interaction as "inappropriate." 

No one from UM followed up, he said.

"It's very sad that whatever happened to the sheet of paper I filled out," Bailey said. "Nothing ever happened to it."

He never followed up with UM about the complaint. But now he wishes he had.

"I was in school studying. I was worried about getting drafted during the Vietnam War," said Bailey. "If I had to do it all over again, I would certainly have gone back and asked why I didn’t hear from anyone. I would have been more confrontational if the times were different."

When Bailey called UM's hotline this week, he spoke with an intermediary about the allegations, and they told him that someone from UM would get back to him in 10-12 days.

"I want to talk with someone at UM," he said. "I really want to talk to someone."

He said Thursday that he got an email from UM, letting him know someone would be in touch by Friday.

About 15-20 years ago, Bailey said he saw Anderson in a Chinese restaurant in Ann Arbor with a few other people.

"I wanted to go up to him and lay into him and embarrass him," said Bailey. "But I didn’t."

If he had, he said he would have asked Anderson a few questions..

"I would have asked, 'Do you remember me?,'" Bailey said. "'Do you remember what you did to me in your office behind closed doors?'"