Last month, a law firm hired by the University of Michigan to investigate claims that a former school doctor named Robert Anderson sexually abused dozens of patients throughout his 37-year tenure at the school released a report on its investigation. The law firm’s investigation concluded that Anderson, who died in 2008, “engaged in a pervasive, decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct,” with much of the abuse being carried out against student athletes. The investigation also concluded that legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, who coached the team from 1969–1989 and died in 2006, was aware of Anderson’s conduct. That conclusion is now being supported by Schembechler’s own adopted son.
Matt Schembechler, now 62 years old, will be giving a press conference later Thursday detailing how he was abused by Anderson and how his own father went out of his way to ignore and cover up that abuse. Matt spoke to both ESPN and The Detroit Free Press in advance of his press conference, and provided some details about his experience. Matt claims that he was molested by Anderson during a routine sports physical when he was 10 years old, less than a year after Bo was hired to coach the Michigan football team. Matt says that when he told his father about the abuse, Bo reacted violently. From ESPN:
Matt said Anderson fondled him and did “an anal probe” when he visited the doctor for a sports physical prior to joining the pee wee football team. According to Matt, when he shared those details with Bo, the coach told him he didn’t want to hear about it and then got physically violent with both Matt and his mother.
“That was the first time he closed-fist punched me,” Matt told ESPN. “It knocked me all the way across the kitchen.”ESPN
Matt claims that shortly after he told Bo about the abuse his mother went to Don Canham, who was the university’s athletic director at the time, to tell him about what Anderson had done. Matt told ESPN that he remembered his mother telling him that Canham was ready to fire Anderson, but was prevented from doing so by Bo, who intervened on the doctor’s behalf. “Bo went to bat for Anderson and got him back working again,” Matt told ESPN. “He wasn’t going to have anybody change his team.”
Back in May, the law firm that investigated Michigan concluded that administrators at the university, including Bo Schembechler and Don Canham, received “contemporaneous information about Dr. Anderson’s misconduct from multiple sources” as far back as the 1970s, and that “Dr. Anderson’s misconduct may have been detected earlier and brought to an end if they had considered, understood, investigated, or elevated what they heard.”
Matt Schembechler’s press conference is scheduled to begin today at 1:00 ET.