The University of Michigan, its great football program and legendary former football coach Glenn “Bo” Schembechler are all back in the spotlight this week after two former players appeared in an exclusive interview with Fox News to account for sexual abuse on their hands at the longtime physician in the Michigan athletics department, Dr. Robert E. Anderson.
Dan Kwiatkowski, who was one of the best high school prospects in the state of Michigan and played for the Wolverines from 1977 to 1981, said he was “seriously” abused while on campus, beginning with his freshman year, which was performed by Dr. Anderson, who died in 2008 and never faced charges.
“[Schembechler] came to my house to meet my parents, met my parents. And during the conversation, he promised my parents that I would get an education, that they would send a better son home than they gave him, and that he would take care of all my medical responsibilities, “Kwiatkowski explained of the recruitment process with Schembechler.
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“So then I went on to Michigan and I was abused in my freshman year,” Kwiatkowski said.
Anderson’s behavior was well known, according to Kwiatkowski, who he said often forced young students, many not yet adults, into a terrible choice: visit Anderson for treatment and potentially be subjected to another attack or go without medical attention.
“We talked about it in the locker rooms. We talked about it at the bar, we talked about it. If you had a cold, let’s say, and you had to go to Dr. Anderson, you had to decide if you wanted to or not to stay. molested to get the cold medicine, ”Kwiatkowski explained.
“You had to make some really tough decisions as a 17-year-old student. You have to remember that we were 17 at the time and we were faced with all kinds of different situations,” Kwiatkowski said.
Another footballer, Gilvanni Johnson, who played a wide receiver for Maize and Blue from 1982 to 1985, simply replied “yes, it was me.” when asked by Fox News if he was abused by Anderson.
“It was either a cold or I got hurt in a game and I went in and I told Bo that you know I had an anal exam that I did not think should have taken place,” explained Johnson, who was recruited as a two-sport athlete of Michigan.
Johnson, who lives just over an hour west of Ann Arbor in Macomb County, said coaches often threatened players with physical conditions from Anderson for poor performance on the field.
“The coaches, they joked about, you know, ‘we send you to [the] doctor, ‘you know, if you do not take it up or do not do what to do, do not need and such. It was, it was a fun. It happened all the time with regard to it. “
Both players also say they warned former coach Bo Schembechler about Anderson’s behavior.
Kwiatkowski says he was even told by the coaching legend to “harden himself.”
“I went up to Bo after training and asked him, what about the fingers in the butt of the doctor? He asked me to ‘tighten up’. At that point, I realized I was assuming I was alone,” Kwiatkowski said.
Johnson says he told Schembechler about the abuse, but doubts he did anything about the information because the sexual offense continued.
“He told me he wanted to tackle it and never came back with me,” Johnson explained. “I don’t know if he did anything about it. I mean, it continued, so of course he didn’t do anything about it.”
The players’ decision to speak in public for the first time comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed on behalf of many of Anderson’s alleged victims in March 2020. Just last month, a university report commissioned by law firm WilmerHale named Schembechler came out. led the Wolverines to 13 Big Ten championships, as one of several college officials who probably knew about the offense but did not act appropriately.
The report concluded, “Dr. Anderson’s offense may have been discovered earlier and brought to an end” if the individuals who were made aware of it decades earlier had acted on the information that his victims had given them.
“Regarding information was also shared with other university staff. Although the information these individuals received varied in direct and specificity, Dr. Anderson’s behavior might have been discovered earlier and terminated if they had considered, understood, investigated or raised it, they had heard. ”
The report, which was based on 300 patient interviews and information from over 800 people, contained a footnote that “several university staff working with Mr Schembechler told us that if he had been aware of Anderson’s misunderstanding with patients, he would not have tolerated it. “
Last week, current Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh, who played under Schembechler and whose father served as assistant coach, questioned the report, saying “there was nothing that was ever swept under the rug or ignored. He addressed everything in one It’s Bo Schembechler I know. “
Schembechler’s own stepson, Matt Schembechler, claims that as a child he was also a victim of Anderson and that he, like the former players, told his stepfather.
“The practical situation that Dr. Anderson did to me, it just, call it intuition, I do not know, it was just wrong,” Matt said.
The younger Schembechler appears to have had a strained relationship for decades with his stepfather, who died of heart disease in 2006. In a lawsuit filed in the late 1990s, he sought $ 500,000 in compensation from his stepfather. and the University of Michigan in connection with one is about selling Michigan Stadium bleachers as souvenirs.
“He was just not built to be a father, and there was never any closeness in the relationship,” he said of his stepfather.
The former players, who have never spoken publicly before now, said they decided to come forward to stand in solidarity with other victims and protect future generations from experiencing the same type of abuse they were subjected to as young student athletes.
“The real reason I’m here is people saying ‘nobody’s going to say or stand up. “I want to stand up for my teammates and teammates who have gone through the same thing I did,” Kwiatkowski said.
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Johnson fought tears, ”Johnson explained,“ one of the things I’m talking about is because of people who have come in after me and children who are there now.
“Just want to make sure that this abuse, just want to make sure that abuse does not happen again and that children are protected”