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Key events in Anderson's life, career and sex abuse case

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

The late University of Michigan Dr. Robert E. Anderson has been accused of sexually abusing hundreds of students, athletes and others during a career that spanned more than four decades. Here is a timeline of key events in his life, career and the slowly developing case against him:

Feb. 20, 1928: Anderson is born in L’Anse in the Upper Peninsula.

Anderson's photo from the composite of L'Anse High School's 1946 graduating class.

1946: Anderson graduates from L'Anse High School as senior class president.

1950: Anderson earns a bachelor of science in zoology at Michigan State University.

1953: Anderson earns his medical degree from UM.

1963: Anderson allegedly sexually assaults Ron Weiser, who was a UM wrestler and now a major financial supporter of UM and member of the Board of Regents.

September 1966: UM appoints Anderson as associate physician in the University Health Service and clinical instructor in internal medicine and surgery in UM’s School of Medicine.

Anderson during his early years as a physician in the University Health Service at the University of Michigan.

1968: John Gabler Sr., a UM football player gets a physical from Anderson, who allegedly asks if he wants to be part of his studies about male sexuality. Gabler alleges Anderson touched and penetrated him at least 30 times when he attended UM, and that he got a letter from the physician to get out of going to Vietnam.

October 1968: UM promotes Anderson to director of University Health Service. Anderson continues as the Athletic Department’s primary care physician and team physician for many of UM’s athletic teams on a volunteer basis.

1968: UM student Gary Bailey sees Anderson. The doctor asks Bailey to drop his pants and allegedly feels his genitals. Bailey reports the incident to University Health Service. His complaint goes nowhere.

1969: Ward Black, a member of the 1970 national gymnastics championship team, is allegedly assaulted by Anderson during a routine exam. Black says he tried to tell UM gymnastics coach Newt Loken what had happened. Loken died in 2011

1970s: Jim Toy, a gay rights pioneer who once served as UM’s staff gay advocate, allegedly gets a rectal exam from Anderson during a physical when he was a UM graduate student.

Robert Julian Stone as he appeared in 1971, the year he alleges Dr. Robert E. Anderson sexually assaulted him during an exam.

June 1971: Robert Julian Stone sees Anderson for an exam, during which the doctor allegedly dropped his pants, grabbed Stone’s hand and used the young student’s hand to fondle himself.

1975: Tad DeLuca, a former UM wrestler, says he wrote to wrestling coach Bill Johannesen to tell him Anderson had sexually abused him during an exam. He cc-ed then Athletic Director Don Canham in the letter. Johannesen has said he had not been alerted to any improper behavior by Anderson.

Thomas Easthope confronted Anderson about his conduct in exam rooms in 1979, yet the doctor stayed on at UM until 2003.

August 1979: Thomas Easthope, former UM associate vice president for student services, confronts Anderson after getting an alert from Toy that the doctor was allegedly “fooling around” with male patients in exam rooms. Anderson allegedly does not deny the charge yet remains at UM.

Jan. 14, 1980: Anderson is demoted from director of UM’s University Health Service to senior physician.

1980: Anderson tells Canham he intends to leave the student health service to return to private practice. Canham creates a formal position for an athletic team physician and offers it to Anderson, who accepts.

As UM Athletic Director, Don Canham is believed to have played a role in moving Anderson into the athletic department.

May 1980: Anderson allegedly comments on 20-year-old UM student Keith Moree's penis, the pleasures of masturbation, then appears to masturbate himself while Moree's pants are down during an exam.

Jan. 7, 1981: Moree meets with Anderson, Easthope and Toy in a session that is reportedly recorded, with a stipulation that no contents be released. Anderson apologizes, according to Moree, and afterward, he says, Easthope tells Moree that he considered firing Anderson but had concerns about his family. Instead, Easthope says he will move Anderson to an administrative position, according to Moree.

Feb. 20, 1981: On Feb. 20, an appointment change request was entered into Anderson’s personnel file altering his position to senior physician, athletics, effective July 1.

July 1, 1981: Anderson becomes a senior physician in the athletic department, according to his personnel file. He continues to treat UM students.

1988: Jon Vaughn, a UM football player, sees Anderson about a dozen times, during which the doctor allegedly fondles his genitals and digitally penetrates him.

1994: The state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs receives a sexual misconduct complaint against Anderson. The file is opened on May 13 of that year and closed on March 16, 1995.

Jan. 2, 2003: Anderson retires from UM.

Nov. 27, 2008: Anderson dies on Thanksgiving morning at the age of 80.

Tad DeLuca, speaking at a Feb. 27 news conference, says he told his UM wrestling coach in 1975 about Anderson's sexual abuse, only to be kicked off the team and stripped of his scholarship.

July 18, 2018: DeLuca writes to Athletic Director Warde Manuel, detailing allegations of abuse by Anderson. Manuel forwards DeLuca’s letter to UM’s General Counsel office and the Office of Institutional Equity.

October 2018: Pam Heatlie, director of the UM Office of Institutional Equity, passes on an interview of DeLuca to UM police, who begin investigating.

April 29, 2019: UM Detective Mark West forwards a 91-page investigative report of Anderson to the Washtenaw County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Feb. 18, 2020: The Washtenaw County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office concludes that because the doctor had died and so much time had passed since the alleged incidents, no charges could be filed. 

Feb. 19: Robert Julian Stone’s public accusation of Anderson is published in The Detroit News. UM announces it's investigating several "disturbing and very serious" allegations of sexual abuse against Anderson.

Feb. 20: UM President Mark Schlissel publicly apologizes to anyone hurt by Anderson.

Former UM wrestler Andy Hrovat, speaking at a Denver law office Feb. 20, was one of the earliest accusers to step forward after allegations against Anderson became public.

Feb. 20: Former Olympic wrestler Andy Hrovat becomes the first athlete to publicly accuse Anderson of abuse, saying the physician touched him inappropriately when he was a UM freshman in 1998.

Feb. 21: The Washtenaw County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office releases UM police investigation through a FOIA request. It shows the suggestion that Anderson had been fired in 1979 but stayed on until his retirement in 2003.

March 4: Former Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox files the first lawsuit against UM on behalf of a former wrestler who claims the physician abused him on at least 35 occasions in the 1980s.

March 8: A John Doe who ran track for UM on an athletic scholarship during the 1970s alleges in a lawsuit was sexually assaulted by Anderson at least 25 times and that he told head track coach Jack Harvey and assistant coach Ron Warhurst.

March 9: Lawsuit seeking certification as class action filed on behalf of accusers against UM.

March 21: UM engages WilmerHale law firm to conduct an investigation of the allegations against Anderson.

March 26: A former UM football player from the 1980s alleges in a lawsuit that he told Assistant Athletic Director Paul W. Schmidt about Anderson’s behavior and alleges he laughed and said "get used to that." Schmidt denies the allegations. 

Chuck Christian, at his home in Randolph, Massachusetts, on April 22, was the first former Wolverine football player to publicly accuse Anderson of sexual abuse.

April 22: Chuck Christian, a former UM football player who was on the team when it won the 1981 Rose Bowl, accuses Anderson of abuse, saying the trauma created his fear of doctors. He now has terminal prostate cancer.

April 28: UM announces it is planning to develop a way outside the legal system to provide "more certain, faster relief" and privacy to those coming forward with claims of sexual misconduct against the university related to Anderson.

May 1: UM moves to dismiss lawsuits.

July 14: Cathy Kalahar, a former UM student and varsity tennis player in 1973, becomes the first woman to publicly accuse Anderson of sexual misconduct.

Aug. 12: Dwight Hicks and Dr. Airron Richardson, a Super Bowl champ and an All-America wrestler, respectively, accuse Anderson of abuse and bring race into the conversation about abuse at UM for the first time.

Sept. 21: Deposition of Easthope becomes public, shedding additional light on the circumstances of how Anderson was allowed to stay at the university until 2003.

Oct. 23: Mediation to begin between UM and lawyers representing 800 plaintiffs.

Sources: Public documents, Associated Press, Ann Arbor News, The Detroit News