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Lawyers sign up alleged sex abuse victims of UM doctor

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

The week after sexual misconduct allegations emerged about the late Dr. Robert E. Anderson, several law firms are jockeying to represent alleged victims.

No lawsuits have been filed against the University of Michigan, where Anderson worked for 35 years as head of University Health Services and the team physician for the Athletic Department. 

But more than 60 alleged victims have retained the services of a lawyer, and many more are expected, according to attorneys representing the men who have come forward.

Attorney Parker Stinar, left, who represents Tad Deluca, right, and fellow accusers Tom Evashesyski and Andy Hrovat, challenged University of Michigan officials to explain why it took so long to respond to sexual abuse allegations against Anderson, who worked at the university from 1968 to 2003.

Meanwhile, 103 complainants have reached out to UM as of Friday since the university asked other accusers to come forward through a hotline, according to UM spokesman Rick Fitzgerald.

Collaborating on the UM cases are the lawyers who represented victims in the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal, including California-based Manly, Stewart & Finaldi; Grand Rapids-based Drew, Cooper & Anding; Okemos-based Grewal Law and Wilmington, Delaware-based Dalton and Associates.

Lawyer Mick Grewal said the clients, more than 30, include athletes, but also non-athletes, with allegations of abuse ranging from 1970-2000. 

"This is a lot bigger and faster than what happened in the Nassar scandal," said Grewal. "I think the scope with Anderson is going to be bigger."

Grewal also added: "We are collectively working because of what we accomplished for the Nassar survivors. We are going to do the right thing for the survivors."

John Manly, a lawyer who helped the gymnasts hurt by Nassar land a $500 million settlement with Michigan State University, said many of Anderson's accusers are turning to his firm's team of lawyers due to their expertise.

Among them is Robert Julian Stone, the first man to speak publicly about Anderson, who died in 2008. He retained Manly.

Attorney Sarah Klein, a woman believed to be the first to be abused by Nassar and also a national advocate for sexual assault victims, said on Twitter that she will join the team of attorneys in representing alleged victims of Anderson. 

"Honored to be representing many of these survivors with the best team in the country," she tweeted.  "Their bravery and courage in coming forward is remarkable."

Meanwhile, the law firm of Wahlberg, Woodruff, Nimmo and Stone in Colorado is representing Olympic wrestler Andy Hrovat, the first athlete to speak publicly about Anderson, and whistleblower Tad DeLuca, who wrote UM letters in 1975 and 2018 about Nassar. The firm also represents former UM wrestler Tom Evashevski. All three men spoke out this week about Anderson's alleged abuse.

Parker Stinar, the athlete's lawyers, said his firm represents more than 30 victims, and he expects more to come forward.

"They were all victims of sexual abuse, and victims of an institution that ignored warning after warning after warning about a predator preying on young individuals,” Stinar said. "These men are victims of sexual abuse and we anticipate that hundreds of more victims will come forward and refuse to have their voice silenced."