Group unveils billboards calling for justice for ex-UM doctor's sex abuse victims

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Billboards calling for justice for the more than 800 men allegedly molested by a former University of Michigan doctor have gone up in Ann Arbor.

An advocacy group called Spotlight Michigan is behind the two billboards, located at Liberty and First Street and at Maple Street and Dexter Road.

Advocacy group Spotlight Michigan has put up two billboards in Ann Arbor calling for justice for victims of former UM doctor Robert Anderson.

The billboards come about a week after the release of a report commissioned by the university that said more than two dozen of its employees were alerted to complaints of sexually inappropriate behavior by Robert Anderson. The report, issued by the WilmerHale law firm, also said UM officials failed to heed the complaints, which could have stopped Anderson.

Spotlight Michigan said the billboards are part of its campaign urging Michiganians to call on the university's Board of Regents and demand justice for the victims and to raise awareness of the school's "gross negligence."

"These billboards serve as a reminder that the unspeakable acts committed by Dr. Anderson are still having a lasting impact on the students and athletes who were funneled to this predator by school and team officials," Autria Lindsay, a spokeswoman for Spotlight Michigan, said in a statement. "The very man responsible for the wellbeing of these young athletes instead preyed on their innocence and shattered their trust. What's most concerning is that more than 40 years after the first report of abuse was filed, university officials still refuse to admit the concerted coverup that continued to keep Dr. Anderson inside an athletic exam room."

Anderson worked for UM from 1966 to 2003. He was the former head of UM's University Health Service and team physician for the college's Athletic Department. He died in 2008.

The WilmerHale report does not estimate a number of Anderson's victims, but UM is currently in mediation with about 850 accusers. 

Lindsay said the university's leaders for decades betrayed the trust of the students they were supposed to protect. She also said it’s time to hold its officials accountable and ensure future students don't suffer the same abuse.

The group has launched an online petition calling for justice for Anderson's victims.

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez