BY: Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller | IN: Medical Malpractice
With revelations about the late University of Michigan physician Robert Anderson and his sexual assault of students, student-athletes, and patients, people who endured his abuse are stepping forward. But it’s not easy.
As a survivor of sexual abuse by a doctor or health care professional, it’s hard to come to terms with the realization you were assaulted, and for many people, it can take years. But once they do, survivors then ask, “What do I do next, and if I come forward about my abuse, will I be believed?”
There are several avenues you can take to report the abuse you suffered. Although the University of Michigan has established a Compliance Hotline for anyone subjected to sexual misconduct during a medical exam performed by Dr. Anderson, note that you will be put in contact with the school’s attorneys to conduct an internal investigation. For that reason, we do not recommend you call the hotline.
Instead, we urge you to contact Detective Mark West of the University of Michigan Police Department, who has been at the forefront of the investigation into Dr. Anderson’s misconduct and has pushed local prosecutors to act. The number for the UMPD is (734) 763-1131.
Another alternative to the University of Michigan’s hotline is the Michigan Attorney General’s Office. You can contact the Criminal Trials and Appeals Division – the department responsible for conducting criminal investigations and prosecutions – at (517) 335-7650.
Attorneys from Sommers Schwartz and other law firms have asked Attorney General Dana Nessel to conduct a full and comprehensive investigation into Dr. Anderson. Ms. Nessel has stated her willingness to investigate survivors’ allegations if the University of Michigan agrees to waive its attorney-client privilege with law firms it has hired to perform internal investigations.
Ms. Nessel requires the waiver because of obstacles raised during the investigation of Dr. Larry Nasser at Michigan State University. After spending hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars, the Attorney General’s investigation was stonewalled when MSU invoked the attorney-client privilege to refuse the Attorney General’s access to hundreds of important documents.
Nevertheless, we believe Ms. Nessel will proceed with the investigation of Dr. Anderson at some point, and survivors who come forward to report his abuse will help expedite that decision.
When legal rights and protections are involved, it’s always wise to contact a lawyer, and even more so when there is an allegation of sexual assault. An attorney with experience representing survivors of sexual abuse can help you make a civil claim against the University of Michigan and assist you in reporting Dr. Anderson’s misconduct to the University of Michigan Police Department and the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.
Sommers Schwartz attorney Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller has represented survivors of sexual abuse. Most recently, she represented women harmed by Larry Nassar at Michigan State University and obtained an average of more than $1.2 million for each. Lisa, along with Matthew Curtis, is available to discuss your situation, and you can contact her at (248) 746-4015 or firstname.lastname@example.org. All consultations are free and 100% confidential.
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Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller focuses her practice on medical malpractice, automobile negligence, and general negligence litigation on behalf injured plaintiffs.