- A former University of Michigan athletic physician who survived sexual abuse will have a new window outside the statute of limitations to sue the institution. according to the newly proposed state legislation.
- These students who reported the attacks of the late Dr. Robert Anderson – who was employed by the university from the late 1960s until his retirement in 2003 – would have 30 days to file lawsuits, regardless of when they were abused.
- Legislation would also prevent the U of Michigan from claiming government immunity, which protects public institutions from legal complaints.
This is at least the second time that the legislature has proceeded to allow survivors to sue for the wrongdoing of a university doctor after a sexual assault.
The the state has adopted similar legislation in 2018, which gave those who were abused Dr. Larry Nassar, a former physician at Michigan State University, has a 90-day lawsuit outside the statute of limitations. However, legislative efforts to waive Michigan’s state immunity in these lawsuits have failed.
Nassar, who was convicted of sexual crimes and is imprisoned, sexually assaulted hundreds of women in the state of Michigan and the US Gymanastics team. The university has come to terms with those it has abused for $ 500 million, a record amount at that time which overshadowed more than $ 100 million paid to sexual abuse victims by former Penn State University football coach Jerry Sandusky.
The issue of sexual assault at university has become more prominent than recent scandals, such as Louisiana State University, were created.
At the federal level, the Trump administration repealed the Obama-era guidelines on Title IX, a law banning gender discrimination in educational institutions. It issued a regulation that, according to activists of sexual assault survivors, discourages reporting of sexual assault and allows universities to ignore such cases. The Biden administration intends to replace this regulation and publish its own draft rule on Title IX in April.
In Michigan, sponsor of new legislation, State Senator Tom Barrett, Republican, stated in the statement that lawmakers must give Anderson’s victims “the same opportunity to seek justice against the university” as the Nassars had.
Barrett did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
Anderson is estimated to have sexually abused about 1,000 students during his 37-year tenure. University investigation according to the law firm WilmerHale, he found that he was involved in sexual abuse “on countless occasions”.
AU of Michigan spokesman declined to comment on the proposed legislation.