Anderson sexually abused students and athletes away from home for the first time; athletes from poor families afraid of losing scholarships; gay people during a time when many doctors were afraid to treat members of the LGBTQ community; young men trying to avoid the Vietnam draft; U of M athletes needing mandatory sports physicals; and employees sent to him for mandatory employment physicals.
Anderson targeted susceptible populations. Some of his patients had never undergone an adult physical exam before seeing him. Anderson was also the physician for a large number of LGBTQ patients. In the 1980s, when the AIDS epidemic began, many physicians were hesitant to treat gay men. According to our client, Michael Connelley, gay men, including college students (some of whom were minors), did not feel comfortable going to most physicians because they “would look at gay people funny” and “would be afraid to touch them.” Anderson took advantage of this, and sexually abused his LGBTQ patients. He knew that many of his LGBTQ patients felt there were no other physicians they could see. Many of these patients felt they couldn’t report the abuse because they didn’t want to be outed as LGBTQ individuals during a time when members of this community were stigmatized.
Anderson sometimes engaged in quid pro quo arrangements, such as exchanging medications for sexual contact with his patients. At his second office visit, Anderson prescribed Connelley a large amount of valium. Connelley had never taken this or any other anti-anxiety medication, yet Anderson sent him home with 2 large bottles of the drug. Anderson kept giving / prescribing valium to Connelley, and he became addicted to it. He was then reliant on Anderson.
Some student athletes did not complain to their coaches about Anderson abusing them because they were fearful of losing their scholarships or playing time. Gilvanni Johnson told reporters that when he was recruited, the U of M coaches told his mother they would take care of him and that he would have the best medical care. Johnson, a wide receiver in the 1980s, was sexually assaulted over 15 times by Anderson. Johnson said that Anderson fondled his genitals, tried to arouse him, and put his finger in Johnson’s anus. After his second visit with Anderson, Johnson told Schembechler about the abuse. Schembecher said he “would check on this” with the medical staff and get back with him. Johnson never heard back. He did not bring up the issue again due to fear of losing his scholarship; the University was paying his tuition and living expenses.
Daniel Kwiatkowski came from a poor, working class family. Shembechler came to his home in the 1970s and promised that he would be like a father to him. Kwiatkowski’s mother was worried about her son getting hurt while playing or practicing, and the family not being able to pay the medical bills. Schembechler assured Mrs. Kwiatkowski that her son would be taken care of. This did not occur. Kwiatkowski was abused at his very first visit with Anderson – a mandatory physical. He told Schembechler that Anderson had groped his genitals and inserted fingers in his rectum. The coach told Kwiatkowski to “toughen up,” and continued to send him and other players to Anderson. Kwiatkowski never spoke about the abuse again, and he was abused 3 more times. He felt that Anderson was being protected by Schembechler, who was supposed to be like a father to him.
According to investigators, during the height of the Vietnam war, Anderson would provide medical exemptions for the draft in exchange for being able to examine and sexually assault / abuse the patients. In one instance, a student made an appointment with Anderson in 1969 or 1970 in hopes that the health services physician would help him avoid the draft. Anderson told the student he had a heart murmur. When the student asked Anderson for a letter documenting the murmur, Anderson asked him to undergo exams with medical students present so they could hear the murmur. At one of these visits, Anderson anally penetrated the student and asked him if it “made his penis tingle.” Anderson later wrote a medical exemption letter for the student.
According reports, Anderson was one of the few physicians in the area who performed the physicals that were required by the FAA for pilots to get and maintain their licenses. Anderson performed these physicals at U of M’s University Health Services (UHS) during his lunch break and after hours. During these physicals, Anderson performed unnecessary prostate exams and fondled the genitalia of pilots, some of whom were only 17 when they first saw Anderson. One of our clients, who was a minor when he first saw Anderson, went back to Anderson multiple times in order to maintain his pilot’s license.
We also have clients who were sent to Anderson by their employers for mandatory “workplace physicals.” Both males and females have come forward sharing very similar ways in which Anderson assaulted and abused them during exams. Investigators reported that the patients Anderson saw at UHS after hours or during his lunch break included people sent to him for life insurance examinations and infertility treatments.
Anderson’s elite status as a U of M Team Physician was widely advertised amongst the employees who were forced to seek physicals from Anderson – and by employers, life insurance agents, physicians and others who referred people to Anderson. This status was often used to quell people’s complaints that Anderson’s exams were extremely invasive and unnecessary. Reports reveal that Anderson’s “aggressive,” “painful,” and “creepy” physicals were known by both employees and supervisors at the companies that sent patients to him.
One female who was assaulted by Anderson during a pre-employment physical filed a lawsuit in 1995. According to court filings, Anderson “touched and manipulated her breasts ‘purportedly’ as part of a breast exam, and performed a vaginal and rectal exam.” This lawsuit was dismissed. Investigators found that U of M officials did not conduct due diligence with respect to this lawsuit. Anderson himself disclosed the lawsuit to U of M on his applications for Michigan Medicine credentials, and nobody investigated this.
Anderson worked for the University of Michigan in multiple capacities, and in addition to his actual U of M positions, his U of M affiliation gave him avenues to prey on people who were not affiliated with the University of Michigan. Anderson assaulted males and females, minors and adults, members of the gay community and straight community, numerous U of M athletes who were required to see him, U of M students who were scheduled to see him, and employees and other people who were sent to Anderson for required physicals. Grewal Law represents survivors who were assaulted during every decade that Anderson practiced: the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s.
Indeed, as investigators have found, Anderson sexually abused, assaulted and harassed patients throughout his entire 37 year career with the University of Michigan. He was in a position of power that allowed him to prey on a wide variety of people, likely abusing many more than the the 850+ survivors that have come forward. U of M’s own investigators concluded the following: “[A] number of University students raised concerns at the time, directly or indirectly, about Dr. Anderson. But those who did so represent only a small fraction of the hundreds of patients who have come forward now, who may themselves represent only a fraction of the patients with whom Dr. Anderson engaged in sexual misconduct.”
See our other articles from this series:
- Part I: If … It Could Have Been Stopped, Why Wasn’t It Stopped?
- Part II: Pedophile Physician Protected by U of M Officials for Almost 4 Decades
- Part IV: U of M’s Own Investigation Found that Staff Took No Meaningful Action to Stop Dr. Anderson’s Abuse of Patients
With more than 29 years of experience, Mick Grewal has the skills and knowledge to help his clients accomplish their goals, whether such pursuits involve sexual assualt advocacy, personal injury or medical malpractice matters. Founder and managing partner of Grewal Law, Mr. Grewal prides himself on providing full-service legal help to families in the greater area of Lansing, Michigan.