CANTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan is sending a letter to thousands of former student-athletes, asking them to speak with investigators from a law firm it hired to lead a probe into a deceased doctor accused of molesting people going back decades.

The Ann Arbor school said Tuesdaythat the letter, signed by athletics director Warde Manuel, is going out to most of the 6,800 former student-athletes who were on campus between the mid-1960s and the early 2000s.



NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 10: University of Connecticut men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie (L), UConn athletic director Warde Manuel, (C), and UConn Women’s Basketball coach Geno Auriemma (R), clap at the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange on April 10, 2014 in New York City. The UConn men’s and women’s teams won the NCAA basketball championships this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 267 points to close at 16,170 Friday. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)



Many men say they were molested by Dr. Robert E. Anderson while seeking treatment for various injuries.

Anderson, who died in 2008, worked at the university for decades until his retirement in 2003.

The letter invites the ex-student-athletes to “come forward and speak to WilmerHale if you experienced abuse by Anderson or if you have information you believe may be relevant to understanding this situation.”

The school last month announced that it hired WilmerHale to replace another law firm, Steptoe & Johnson, with which it cut ties after learning some of that firm’s attorneys represented high-profile clients accused of sexual misconduct.



ANN ARBOR, MI – OCTOBER 15: Wide receiver Mario Manningham #86 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates with teammates after scoring the game winning touchdown against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Michigan Stadium on October 15, 2005 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Wolverines defeated the Nittany Lions 27-25. (Photo by Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images)


Michigan Athletics will send an email message to every living former student-athlete from that time frame for which it has a valid address, about 4,400 in all. That is being followed by a letter to be sent through the U.S. Postal Service this week to most of the 6,800 former student-athletes from that time frame. Some will receive both the email and the mailed letter.

The university announced in February that it was investigating allegations of abuse against Anderson, and it offered counseling to anyone affected by the alleged misconduct.

University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said Tuesday that as of last week 168 unique complaints had been received, most via a hotline, to report complaints regarding Anderson.



ANN ARBOR, MI – OCTOBER 13: Michigan Wolverines Athletic Director Warde Manuel hugs Dylan McCaffrey #10 after a 38-13 win over the Wisconsin Badgers on October 13, 2018 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)


The revelations at Michigan echo high-profile allegations and investigations of sexual abuse made by patients of sports doctors at other universities, including Michigan State, Ohio State and Minnesota.

Mike Cox, a former Michigan attorney general, has filed lawsuits against the University of Michigan on behalf of about three-dozen men listed as John Does. He calls the school’s letter-sending effort “window dressing.”

“I view the WilmerHale investigation as window dressing and not something that is going to move the ball for any of the victims,” Cox said.


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