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Ex-University of Michigan vice president, Anderson accuser to be deposed in sex abuse suit

The Detroit News

A former University of Michigan vice president and a onetime Wolverine football player will be deposed in connection with litigation against the school over allegations of sexual abuse by the late Dr. Robert Anderson.

Former University of Michigan vice president for student services Henry Johnson.

Henry Johnson, who was UM's vice president for student services, and Chuck Christian, who has late-stage prostate cancer, will give testimony as the university and accusers who have sued the school head toward mediation, according to an order filed Friday in U.S. District Court.

"Plaintiffs and the University are currently planning for, and will begin within the next 30 days, mediation proceedings in an effort to settle these cases," Judge Victoria Roberts said in the order. "Plaintiffs and the University may take the depositions of Mr. Henry

Johnson, an elderly witness; and Mr. Charles Christian, a plaintiff with metastatic

cancer."

In deposition testimony that was released this week, former associate vice president for student services Thomas Easthope said Johnson overruled him in 1980 when he tried to fire Anderson after learning of allegations that the head of the University Health Service was sexually abusing male students during exams.

According to UM police reports, Johnson told Detective Mark West he did not remember Easthope informing him about the allegations against Anderson or his decision to fire the physician, though in his deposition, Easthope testfied: "I told Henry Johnson." 

Despite Easthope's testimony that he confronted Anderson and fired him, the doctor was moved into a position as UM's athletic team physician and remained at the university until retiring in 2003.

Easthope said he did not take steps to alert others about the physician, such as police, prosecutors or state licensing officials. He also failed to make sure Anderson's UM employment was terminated and said he did not learn that Anderson had remained at the university until being interviewed by West in 2018. 

Chuck Christian, of Randolph, Mass., the first former Michigan football player to publicly say that a team doctor abused him, looks through a window in his home while standing for a photograph, Wednesday, April 22, 2020, in Randolph.

Hundreds of former students have alleged that Anderson sexually abused them starting in the late 1960s, including Christian, who played tight end for the Wolverines from 1977-80. Anderson died in 2008.

Christian, 60, has said that Anderson gave him unnecessary rectal exams, and that the experience so traumatized him that he refused to see doctors, which he blames for his not being diagnosed until his cancer had advanced to a late stage.