Bo Schembechler is known as one of college football’s greatest coaches, never having a losing season in his 21 years at the University of Michigan. His son told CBS New’ Nancy Chen that he also ignored rampant sexual abuse by the team’s doctor.
“I was a really innocent kid,”said.
He said he was just 10 years old when former University of Michigan doctor Robert Anderson molested him during a physical exam in 1969.
“He asked me to take off all my clothes, all of them, underwear included. I remember asking ‘do I have to take these off?’ And uh, well you know, he’s a doctor,” Schembechler recalled. “It was confusing for me.”
Matt Schembechler and other former players say they had told Bo Schembechler that Anderson abused them, but he turned a blind eye — even telling one player to toughen up.
A report commissioned by the university released in May found that allegations against Dr. Anderson were also made to multiple university officials more than 20 years before he retired.
Speaking to CBS News with his attorneys, Matt Schembechler said he told his father — who had adopted Matt after marrying his mother — but he says the university coach punched him in the chest.
“It was the first time I saw him have one of his rage fits where it just seemed like he lost physical control, and the screaming and spitting and hitting, threatening,” Schembechler said.
He said Bo Schembechler prized the winning team above all — even fighting to keep Anderson after Matt came forward.
“I was told that Dr. Anderson is gone. And next thing you know, it seems within a couple of days, he’s back reinstated,” he said, adding “only because of Bo.”
Attorneys for the accusers say more than 850 people, including former football player Daniel Kwiatkowski, accused Anderson of abusing them during doctor’s visits over a period of nearly four decades.
“Dr. Anderson violated me again and again,” Kwiatkowski said in a press conference. “I have avoided doctors ever since that time, jeopardizing my own health and have found it very hard to have intimate relationships with women.”
The investigation commissioned by the university found that “…Doctor Anderson’s misconduct may have been detected earlier and brought to an end” if school leaders had taken action.
While many of Anderson’s accusers are suing the university, Bo Schembechler passed away in 2006 and Anderson died in 2008. Neither of them was charged.
Matt Schembechler believes justice still needs to be served, saying his hope is “this never happens to another kid again.”
“And frankly, I want the University of Michigan to say they’re sorry,” he said. ” And we all do everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
The University of Michigan says it expresses sympathy for Anderson’s victims and condemns his actions — and it has adopted dozens of policies since he left to protect students.