Famed Coach's Son Says He Told Dad of Abuse in 1969

Matt Schembechler says father ignored abuse by Robert Anderson at University of Michigan
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 10, 2021 2:59 AM CDT
Updated Jun 10, 2021 6:54 AM CDT
Famed Coach's Son Says He Was Among Abuse Victims
This provided by the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan shows Dr. Robert E. Anderson.   (Robert Kalmbach/Bentley Historical Library University of Michigan via AP, File)

A son of legendary University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler was among the hundreds of men who were sexually assaulted by a campus doctor, he told the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday. Matt Schembechler said Dr. Robert Anderson fondled his genitals and digitally penetrated him during a routine physical in 1969, his father's first year coaching at the school. "Even as a little kid, I knew it was really wrong," he said. But when he told his father, Bo reportedly told him to "never talk to me about this again." Matt Schembechler said he also told a neighbor, then-Michigan athletic director Don Canham. But Anderson was never punished, Matt said, recalling an argument in which his father told his mother that he needed Anderson on his staff. Matt said Anderson then assaulted him during another physical in 1975, when he was a high school sophomore.

His accusations come a month after a report from the WilmerHale law firm commissioned by the university said Bo Schembechler and other officials were aware of complaints about Anderson, though he remained at the school for decades, the AP reports. The report found Bo Schembechler, who died in 2006, was told by a player that Anderson had fondled him during an exam and that the coach told the player to "toughen up." That player was Daniel Kwiatkowski, an offensive lineman from 1977-79, who was allegedly abused four times. Matt Schembechler will join Kwiatkowski and Gilvanni Johnson, a wide receiver from 1982-86, in speaking at a Thursday press conference. The number of Anderson's victims could exceed 800, according to court filings. The report detailed many missed opportunities to stop Anderson, who spent 37 years on campus. He died in 2008.

(More University of Michigan stories.)

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