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Bo Schembechler’s son, former U-M players hold press conference detailing abuse, former coach’s actions

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A presser was held on Thursday in Novi.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Matt Schembechler, the son of former Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, said during a press conference on Thursday that he was sexually abused by doctor Robert Anderson and told his father about it.

The incident took place in 1969 when Schembechler was 10-years-old when he saw Anderson ahead of playing junior football in fourth grade. Schembechler, now 62, claims that his testicles were groped and that Anderson penetrated him from behind.

Anderson told his mother Millie, Bo’s first wife and a registered nurse, about what had happened. He said that she instructed him to tell his father what happened and when he did, Bo yelled at him and said he did not want to hear it.

“I tried to tell him repeatedly, but my efforts earned me a punch in the chest,” Schembechler said. “It was the beginning of the end for our relationship.”

Matt Schembechler also claims that his father reversed former athletic director Don Canham’s decision to fire Anderson.

“Bo had him reinstated,” Schembechler said. “Because he needed his team doctor and wanted to ensure that Anderson would remain a part of the team.”

Matt Schembechler was joined on Thursday by a pair of former football players in Daniel Kwiatowski and Gilvanni Johnson. Both say that they were also abused by Anderson during inappropriate medical exams.

Johnson, a wide receiver from 1982-86, said that he was abused 15 times by Anderson during his time at Michigan. He was visibly shaken and emotional while describing his recruiting process and coaches promising his mother they would keep him safe. During his freshman physical, he says he was violated by Anderson.

“Before my freshman physical, you would hear players joking about having to see “Dr. Anus,” he said. “I never had a physical like that. I told Bo. Bo said he would check on that with the medical staff. Never heard back.”

The University of Michigan released a statement during Thursday’s press conference:

“Our sympathy for all of Anderson’s victims is deep and unwavering, and we thank them for their bravery in coming forward. We condemn and apologize for the tragic misconduct of the late Dr. Robert Anderson, who left the University 17 years ago and died 13 years ago. We are committed to resolving their claims and to continuing the court-guided confidential mediation process.”

The university is currently in mediation in federal court with over 800 victims, per The Detroit News. An independent investigation from the WilmerHale law firm said that Anderson’s abuse was reported “several times” between 1978 and 1981 and that a “senior University administrator ... did not take appropriate action.” About 90 percent of the victims that have come forward so far are male, accusing Anderson of fondling their genitals and giving rectal examinations even for unrelated ailments.

Canham passed away in 2005, while Bo Schembechler and Anderson died in 2006 and 2008, respectively.