The University of Michigan has agreed to a $490 million settlement with more than 1,000 people who say they were sexually assaulted by a former sports doctor at the school during his nearly four-decade career, those involved in the agreement said Wednesday.
Attorney Parker Stinar said that 1,050 people will share in the settlement, which was reached the night before. The university had been in mediation to resolve multiple lawsuits by mostly men who said Dr. Robert Anderson sexually abused them during routine medical examinations.
“It has been a long and challenging journey, and I believe this settlement will provide justice and healing for the many brave men and women who refused to be silenced,” said Stinar, who represents about 200 victims.
Stinar said $460 million will be paid out to the 1,050 victims, while $30 million has been set aside for future accusers.
University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald confirmed the settlement and said a statement would be released later Wednesday.
Anderson worked at the university from 1966 until his 2003 retirement and was director of the university’s Health Service and a physician for multiple athletic teams, including football. A number of football players and other athletes have come forward to accuse Anderson, who died in 2008, of sexually abusing them.
A report by a firm hired by the school determined that staff missed many opportunities to stop Anderson over his 37-year career.
The university regularly is ranked among the top public universities in the U.S.
The deal came just after two men who say they were sexually assaulted by Anderson said they were hoping that a change in leadership with the weekend firing of university President Mark Schlissel would allow the school be more accountable toward abuse victims.
Keith Moree and Robert Stone told reporters Tuesday that the Ann Arbor school is ripe for a culture change as its board conducts a search to permanently replace Schlissel, who was removed Saturday due to an alleged “inappropriate relationship with a university employee.”
The settlement with Anderson’s victims is one of several agreed to by universities following sex abuse scandals, including Michigan State University’s agreement to pay $500 million to settle claims from more than 300 women and girls who said they were assaulted by Larry Nassar, who was a campus sports doctor as well as a doctor for USA Gymnastics.
That settlement, announced in May 2018, was considered the largest at the time, far surpassing the $100 million-plus that Penn State University has paid to settle claims by at least 35 people who accused assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky of sexual abuse.
Last year, the University of Southern California agreed to an $852 million settlement with more than 700 women who have accused the college’s longtime campus gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall, of sexual abuse.
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