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Anderson survivors attorneys respond to letter from members of Schembechler family

Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 9:04 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Matt Schembechler, the son of legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, came forward on June 10 with evidence against his father in the case involving a university doctor believed to have sexually abused hundreds of patients.

Matt Schembechler’s attorney said his client was abused by Dr. Robert Anderson and that his father failed to protect him and other athletes. During the announcement Schembechler recounted an incident where he told his father of the abusive he suffered as a 10-year-old patient of Anderson’s.

“When Bo got home, I told him what happened. That did not go well,” Schembechler said. “Bo’s temper was legendary and he lost it. He screamed ‘I don’t want to hear this, I’m not hearing this.’ I tried to tell him repeatedly but my effort earned me a punch in the chest. This was the beginning of the end of the relationship with him. I hoped my father would protect me but he didn’t.”

Since the announcement, three other family members of Bo Schembechler released a letter in support of the famous University of Michigan coach.

They wrote, “It is telling to us that Bo never spoke to any of us about inappropriate behavior by Dr. Anderson. To the contrary, in our steadfast opinion, Bo was not aware of such conduct and assumed that any procedures were medically appropriate. As he demonstrated at many points in his career and to us as a family, Bo had a clear and compelling sense of right and wrong: he would not have tolerated misconduct, especially toward any of his players, family members, coaches or to anyone associated with the University of Michigan’s football program. If Bo had known of inappropriate conduct, we are certain that he would have stopped it immediately, reported it, and had Dr. Anderson removed from the University.”

In reply, attorneys representing the more than 250 survivors of Anderson in civil actions against the University of Michigan issued a statement.

“Dr. Anderson was able to continue his abuse for three decades supported by a culture that placed the reputation of the University above the health and safety of its students,” They wrote. “That is the culture that made Bo Schembechler a legend and placed his statue in front of Schembechler Hall. It is not surprising to hear some members of his family say that ‘Bo never spoke to any of us about inappropriate behavior by Dr. Anderson’. That is the problem. Bo did not tell them. In fact, he did not tell anyone. ... While it is understandable that they wish to erase the stain of the Anderson scandal from their family name, they cannot rewrite history. With each passing day, more victims are following the lead of Matt Schembechler and revealing the truth about what Bo and Don knew and when they knew it. “

The response was written by attorneys Mick Grewal and Stephen Drew, from the Anderson survivor’s legal team.

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