A University of Michigan lawyer who testified as one of the hundreds of men who accused the late Dr Robert Anderson of sexual abuse spent much of the legal questioning questioning the credibility of the statements by man on his medical history.

Former University of Michigan football player Chuck Christian claimed Anderson had him undergo painful and unnecessary prostate exams four times during his four-year football career and the trauma of these appointments four decades ago. led him to avoid allowing doctors to give him a prostate exam until 2016. He believes his reluctance to undergo rectal exams prevented the earlier discovery of his terminal prostate cancer , an issue that has been at the center of his public statements.

Jack Williams, an attorney at Jones Day law firm representing UM, questioned Christian about medical records obtained by the university and showing his history of medical visits after graduating from UM in 1981 and later years. These records included visits to the primary care physician starting as early as 2002 and a colonoscopy in 2010, when Christian was 51 years old.

“Whatever Dr. Anderson did, that didn’t stop you from going to doctors after 1981, did it?” Williams asked at one point.

“How can you tell me what it did or did not stop? You are not in this body,” Christian replied during the heated exchange. “You don’t live in this body. So don’t start playing this game with me. You are very disrespectful.”

While three depositions were taken, that of Christian is the first to emerge publicly, providing a behind-the-scenes look at UM’s strategies as the legal process between Anderson’s accusers and the university continues into its sophomore year. The school was first prosecuted in March 2020 and more than 100 lawsuits were stayed in September of this year as the mediation process began with over 850 Anderson accusers.

Reached by telephone this week, Christian described the deposition, which was given in September last year, as a “non-stop attack”.

“I felt like a criminal,” said Christian, a Boston-area resident who manifesto in front of the house of the president of the UM Mark Schlissel on campus with fellow soccer player Jon Vaughn.

“After the deposition, I felt like I was raped again. I couldn’t believe Michigan could be so cruel. They had no sympathy for what I had been through.”

Williams did not reply to a message left looking for comment.

MU spokesman Rick Fitzgerald noted in a statement that Christian’s attorney had requested that his deposition be taken.

“As part of this process, the university researched medical records to allow for thorough accounting of the impact of the trauma suffered by Anderson’s survivors,” said Fitzgerald. “The university was pleased to learn from Mr. Christian himself that he received regular medical care over the years.

“UM remains committed to working throughout the ongoing confidential mediation process which is overseen by the Federal Court. At the same time, we continue to implement new policies, processes and procedures to make our campus safer for every member of the University community. . “

Christian’s attorney, Dennis Mulvihill, said the deposition shows the contrast in how UM treats accusers out of public view versus more sympathetic public statements.

UM said he believed Anderson sexually assaulted former students during medical treatment and was seeking a fair settlement with those injured by the doctor who ran the university health service for many. years and was the team doctor of the sports department of UM. Anderson, who began his career at UM in 1966, retired in 2003 and died in 2008.

“The disconnect comes when one compares how Michigan treated Mr. Christian in his testimony – aggressively and condescendingly, with how Michigan wants to be seen treating victims in public – consistently praising victims for their courage to share their stories openly, ”said Mulvihill. “These are the two faces of the university when it comes to how it allowed Dr. Anderson to rape so many students and the consequences resulting from this unreasonable and tragic decision.”

Christian’s deposition was taken virtually but had been sealed. UM and Mulvihill both agreed to unseal it.

Fitzgerald declined to discuss why UM agreed to unseal him, saying the school “respects the confidentiality of court-supervised mediation.”

Mulvihill noted that “the parties disagreed as to whether the deposition should be made public, and it took a long time to reach agreement. The disagreement was whether or not this testimony was subject to mediation confidentiality, and it took some time to resolve these issues. “

The official photo of team doctor Dr. Robert Anderson from the University of Michigan Football Media Guide 1992.

The late Thomas Easthope was deposed before his death in March. Easthope was the former UM associate vice president for student services who claimed to have fired Anderson in 1979 when he learned of complaints that Anderson had sexually assaulted members of the UM community and that his boss had overturned his decision. That boss, former vice president of student services Henry Johnson, was also removed from office.

But Christian, a 1977-81 UM tight end, is the only accuser to have filed a deposition. He said doctors gave him three years to live in 2016.

Asked by Mulvihill, Christian said he didn’t see doctors often during the 1980s and 1990s after leaving Michigan and settling in the Boston area.

“I just avoided the doctor because I associated the doctors with the pain and the trauma,” Christian said during the testimony. “I just didn’t want to go to a doctor, so I just avoided them.”

He saw a urologist in 2005 after his wife LaDonna, a nurse, insisted he go when he found blood in his urine.

“Things were going well until he went around the corner, grabs a glove and breaks it,” Christian said of the date. “When I heard that glove click, my brain and everything went into Dr. Anderson’s office. It was like being transported.

“My wife kept telling me, ‘Chuck, you have to do this,'” Christian said. “I said, ‘No, nobody’s going to do this to me anymore.'”

Christian, whose father died of prostate cancer at 62, said he got up and left. His doctor told him he was 45, so they could watch his symptoms. He said his symptoms have improved.

Christian said he saw a doctor for his blood pressure in 2012 because LaDonna told him he could have a stroke if he didn’t treat it. He eventually had a prostate cancer exam in 2016 after LaDonna continued to insist because he urinated 8-10 times during the night.

Jones Day Williams asked Christian about the first physical exam with Anderson as an 18-year-old freshman when the doctor performed the painful rectal exam and stroked his penis. Christian told a teammate about the incident and learned that his teammate also had a rectal exam.

“You were both shocked at what happened with Dr Anderson giving you rectal exams, weren’t you? Williams asked, and Christian said yes.

Williams asked if Anderson stroked his teammate’s penis as well, but Christian said he didn’t know.

“So you and (redacted) just talked about the rectal exam, not stroking the penis?” Williams said.

“Yes, because it was extremely painful for me,” Christian said.

Williams also asked how Christian came to the conclusion that he had been sexually assaulted by Anderson, which he did not acknowledge until last year until a conversation with a teammate.

Christian said he felt violated when Anderson inserted his finger into him, but figured the doctor was doing it for medical reasons. He said he trusted the doctor because he believed the MU was the best.

“So after Dr. Anderson, those four exams you took with him, you didn’t think anything was wrong for the next 40 years until your teammate… called you in February 2020; is not it ?

“Right,” Christian replied.

Williams has reviewed many records and doctor’s appointments Christian had, including a colonoscopy he had in 2010 when he was 51..

“When you had a colonoscopy, hadn’t you had a rectal exam before? Williams asked Christian during the deposition.

“Rectal exam? No, ”replied Christian. “When I had my colonoscopy, they put me to sleep. I woke up, it was over.”

kkozlowski@detroitnews.com


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