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Politics & Government

Nessel says UM investigation would require $1 million and waiving attorney-client rights

C.C. Little Science Building
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan

Attorney General Dana Nessel says she’s willing to investigate allegations of sex abuse leveled against a University of Michigan doctor. But she set some conditions that would have to be met first.

Former U of M students and athletes have stepped forward with claims of abuse by Dr. Robert Anderson, who died in 2008. They also say U of M failed to protect them from the abuse.

The attorney general says she’s willing to investigate to determine whether U of M is culpable. But Nessel says she cannot do that unless U of M agrees not to use the attorney-client privilege.

“I’m saying it right now publicly that we’re willing to do it,” she announced at a press conference. “I’m just saying that for us to do it, A, we need the proper resources and the proper funding, and, B, we need this commitment from the university to waive all privileges.”

Nessel also wants the Legislature to authorize $1 million for an investigation.

Nessel said her office’s inquiry into the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal became bogged down because of Michigan State University’s refusal to cooperate. 

“Without, not just funding from the Legislature, but without a commitment from the University of Michigan to waive all privileges, there would be really no sense of us moving forward with an investigation and we wouldn’t have the resources to do it,” she says.

The U of M Board of Regents and President Mark Schlissel released the following statement Friday morning:

We are sorry for the pain caused by the failures of our beloved University. The allegations that have surfaced sadden and disgust us. We are profoundly grateful to our courageous alumni who have stepped forward to hold our University accountable. We stand committed to the thorough, independent and transparent investigation launched by an external firm into the disgraceful behavior that has been reported. We have met with, and sought counsel from, survivors, doctors and mental health experts and believe we are overseeing a process that will ultimately serve as the best course of action for the survivors and University community. Our goal is for the University to serve as the highest example for other institutions on how to handle similar situations. We recognize that trust in the University has been broken. As leaders, we understand the tremendous importance of integrity, and we will strive to always uphold the public’s trust in our University. There is no greater institutional responsibility than the safety of our students, faculty and staff.

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