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Lawyer for survivors of University of Michigan doctor expects changes to state law

UM reached settlement with sexual abuse survivors
Lawyer for survivors of University of Michigan doctor expects changes to state law
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 6:30 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The University of Michigan reached an agreement Wednesday with survivors of sports doctor, Dr. Robert Anderson.

Related: UM, Anderson survivors reach $490M settlement

Jamie White, one of the lawyers who represents many of the survivors told News 10, the next step is hopefully changing state law.

“There is a groundswell of support for broader legislation,” White said.

White, and the former UM football players he represents, are pushing for state lawmakers to expand the statute of limitations for sexual abuse survivors. More than 1,000 people said former Dr. Anderson sexually abused them, going as far back as the 1960s.

The state legislature was considering a proposal to extend the statute of limitations for claims against Anderson. It also extended the limits for Larry Nassar survivors to come forward.

Related: Survivors of Nassar abuse reach settlement with USA Gymnastics, USOPC

But White said it’s time Michigan stops making these rules on a case-by-case basis.

“32 other states have changed their statute of limitations laws to allow minors to come forward for various reasons,” White said. “It’s not only gotten them compensated, but it’s exposed other predators.”

He said the bills to extend the statute of limitations for Anderson’s survivors will likely die in the legislature because of the $490,000,000 settlement.

White expected lawmakers to work on new bills very soon.

Related: Michigan bills would give sex abuse victims more time to sue

“I think the legislature is ready for at least a conversation about how does Michigan gets caught up with the rest of the country,” White said. “Michigan is a great state. Being at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to protecting kids and issues of sexual assault is really unfortunate.”

UM has made changes since Anderson’s survivors came forward. They include developing an “Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX office” and updating ways misconduct can be reported.

The court still has to formally approve the settlement.

There won’t be a criminal case against Anderson because he died in 2008.

The National Sexual Assault Hotline offers anonymous assistance and support without judgement. It can be reached 24/7 at 800-656-4673.

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