University of Michigan gets more than 100 complaints against former doctor

Mike Householder and Kathleen Foody
Associated Press

Ann Arbor – A University of Michigan hotline has received more than 100 “unique complaints” about a late physician accused of sexual abuse by former patients, including athletes who encountered him as a team doctor, the school announced Friday.

In a statement released with the updated total, a spokesman urged others to contact the university.

“It is truly important for the investigators to hear the voices of survivors for the investigators to understand the full scope of harm and its root causes,” spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said.

The university’s president apologized last week to “anyone who was harmed” by Robert E. Anderson. His comment came a day after the school announced it was investigating abuse allegations against Anderson by five former patients.

Men who have since spoken publicly about Anderson include former athletes who encountered him as a physician for the school’s athletic teams and former students who said the doctor molested them during medical exams at the university’s health service.

Police records released to The Associated Press show University of Michigan officials were warned more than four decades ago that Anderson was fondling patients during medical exams and pressured him to step down as director of the health service.

Other complaints detail alleged abuse by Anderson throughout his tenure at the university. He retired in 2003 and died in 2008.

Another former patient told The Detroit Free Press in a story published Friday that Anderson wrote letters certifying students were gay so they could avoid military service during the Vietnam War in exchange for sexual contact.

Ed Glazer told the newspaper he saw Anderson in 1969 after receiving a draft board notice. Glazier, who is gay, said friends had told him Anderson was willing to write letters certifying students as gay so they could avoid the draft if they would agree to have “personal contact” with the doctor.

Glazier said he saw Anderson at his clinic in the University Health Service office. He said the doctor removed his own pants, laid down on an exam table and began touching himself.

“I was taken aback. I was instantly nauseated and hyperventilated,” Glazier said. “He instantly stopped. He pulled up his pants and went back into his office.”

Glazier said Anderson gave him the letter. Glazier said he was deemed not qualified for military service after providing the letter during his draft board physical.

The newspaper said two other men reached out, independent of Glazier, with similar accounts. Those men did not want to be identified and have never spoken publicly about their encounters with Anderson.

Glazier, who is now 72, said he never reported Anderson and believed none of his friends had either.

“We all kept quiet, figuring that the contact and our silence was a price we were willing to pay to avoid military service,” he said.