University of Michigan investigates deceased doctor over 'sexual predator' claims

A now-deceased physician from the University of Michigan is being accused of sexual abuse by several of his former patients, who claimed he took advantage of them during physical exams.

Dr. Robert E. Anderson, who was described as a "sexual predator" by one patient, is now being posthumously investigated by the school, according to The Associated Press.

The university said in a statement on Wednesday that an independent investigation is underway into the former director of University Health Service and athletic team doctor. He was employed at Michigan from 1968 until his retirement in 2003. He passed away in 2008.

The school has also set up a hotline at 866-990-0111, for other potential victims to come forward with any relevant information about the case.

Several former students were interviewed by the school and accused Anderson of misconduct from the 1970s, and at least one accusation stretched to the 1990s.

"The allegations that were reported are disturbing and very serious," University President Mark Schlissel said in a statement. "We promptly began a police investigation and cooperated fully with the prosecutor's office."

The Detroit News was reporting on the incidents before the probe was announced and interviewed a former student, Robert Julian Stone, who said Anderson assaulted him in June 1971. He sent the school an essay in August entitled, "My Michigan Me-too Moment, 1971." After he sent the letter to school officials, he spoke with university police and filed a report on what happeend.


Stone, who is gay, told The Detroit News that he was concerned he had contracted a sexually transmitted disease and was told to go see Anderson because he was known for providing care to gay men on campus.

The Detroit native said he went into Anderson's office and told him about his concerns. Anderson allegedly asked Stone to enter the exam room and began listing possible symptoms. Then, Stone claims Anderson dropped his pants and began demonstrating where to look for signs of an STD, before touching his penis.

“When I left that office, and even before I left that office, I was so angry,” he said. “I was white-hot angry, and I was completely disgusted. I was disgusted with him. I was appalled that anyone would do this to another human being. I never got over that.”

Stone, 69, added that he didn't tell the administration or authorities about the incident when it occurred. He also said he thought Anderson was a closeted homosexual and initially felt sorry for him.

"When I first wrote to the university, I thought, `Well, Dr. Anderson was a closeted gay man,' and I had some compassion for a man at that time in that position," he explained.

"Now I realize he wasn't a closeted gay man. He was a sexual predator and that's ... a criminal thing."


The Detroit News tried to contact Anderson’s wife, who is now 91 and living in Alaska, but was unable to reach her for comment. It did, however, reach his daughter Jill Anderson who said the allegations against her father are ludicrous.

"That’s ridiculous," she said. "My dad was a beloved doctor at the UM for so many years. He was very well-respected. Everyone said he treated them with the utmost integrity and care."

On Tuesday, the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office said no criminal charges will be filed against Anderson because he is dead, and the window to prosecute anyone connected with the case has expired due to the statute of limitations, according to The AP.

The Associated Press and The Detroit News contributed to this report