The son of legendary University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler said Thursday his father betrayed him after telling him he was sexually assaulted by the team’s doctor during an exam medical.
Matt Schembechler said he was 10 at the time and playing football for a ‘Junior Wolverines’ team in 1969 when his father sent him to see Dr Robert Anderson, whose main job was to s ” occupy players of the university football team and other athletes on Campus.
When he got home and told his father that Anderson had stroked his genitals and “performed an invasive rectal exam with his finger,” Matt Schembechler said his father reacted with fury – against him.
“I don’t want to hear that,” Schembechler shouted, according to his son. “I don’t hear that.”
This was followed by “a punch in the chest”.
“It was the beginning of the end of my relationship with him,” Matt Schembechler said of his father, who died in 2006. “I was hoping my dad would protect me, but he didn’t.”
Matt Schembechler, 62, was among hundreds of men who were sexually assaulted by Anderson, who served as a campus doctor for 37 years and died in 2008.
His testimony, and that of two former Michigan soccer players who say they were abused by Anderson, dealt a direct blow to the reputation of Bo Schembechler, who led the Wolverines to 13 Big Ten soccer championships and is a revered figure. in Ann Arbor.
The two former players, Daniel Kwiatkowski and Gilvanni Johnson, joined him on Thursday at a press conference hosted by their lawyers, who also described how they were mistreated by Anderson.
In response, the university’s president, Mark Schlissel, and the board issued a statement which read, in part: “We condemn and apologize for the tragic fault of the late Dr. Robert Anderson, who left the university. college 17 years ago and passed away 13 years ago. We are committed to resolving their claims and continuing the confidential court-guided mediation process. “
A federal class action lawsuit was filed on May 20, alleging that the University of Michigan was putting students at risk by failing to follow “proper policies and procedures to prevent sexual violence on campus,” The Detroit News reported.
The latest accusations came a month after a report commissioned by the university said Schembechler and other university officials were aware of the complaints about Anderson, but allowed him to continue working on campus – and attack student-athletes.
This report has already driven a wedge in the Schembechler family. Another of Schembechler’s sons, Shemy Schembechler, expressed skepticism last month that his father had ignored complaints about Anderson. But on Thursday, Shemy Schembechler tweeted: “I love my brother Matt and pray for him often.”
Current Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who played under Schembechler, also defended the former coach.
Matt Schembechler said his mother believed him in 1969 and challenged his father by having him tell his story of Anderson to the university’s athletic director at the time, Don Canham.
“OK, I’ll handle this Millie,” Canham replied.
Canham fired Anderson, but “Bo went to see him and said, ‘I need him, he’s our team doctor, get him back,'” said Matt Schembechler. “And he did.”
So when Matt Schembechler needed another football physical exam in Grade 10, he said he ended up in Anderson’s office, where he said he was groped again.
“The last time I saw Anderson was in freshman year of college for another physical exam when I was about to start football at Western Michigan,” he said in a commentary. communicated. “This time Anderson didn’t put a hand on me.”
Canham, who was the athletic director from 1968 to 1988, died in 2005.
The Anderson inquiry was sparked by former Michigan athletes like wrestler Tad DeLuca, who said he was kicked from the team in the 1970s after telling his disbelieving coaches that the disgraced doctor l ‘had stroked her regularly and subjected her to unnecessary rectal examinations.
Investigators in Washtenaw County, Mich., Confirmed that university staff were “aware of the rumors and allegations of misconduct” from Anderson, known on campus as “Dr. Drop Your”. Drawers Anderson “.
The Anderson case echoes the scandal of Dr Richard Strauss at Ohio State University, where hundreds of men – mostly athletes – accused the university of failing to protect them from the predatory doctor.