DETROIT – A cargo pilot who regularly needed health checkups to keep his license contacted a University of Michigan doctor in 2000. He said he soon learned there was nothing routine about a visit with Robert Anderson.
He said Anderson told him to undress, put on a medical gown and get on a table, instead of simply checking the man's vision, hearing and heart. He said the doctor touched his genitals and gave him a prostate exam.
“I was only 33; I probably didn't need a prostate exam but I was naive,” the Ann Arbor-area man, now 53, told The Associated Press. “He examined my whole body like a dermatologist might. It was very creepy. It was too much. I didn't go back. ... You're not touching me again.”
Anderson, who died in 2008, is at the center of a scandal at the University of Michigan, where he's accused of molesting hundreds of young men over decades, especially campus athletes who saw him for exams. It's been a year since the university acknowledged the “disturbing” claims and said a law firm would investigate.
Since then, another category of victims has emerged: pilots in southeastern Michigan who needed physicals to get or maintain a license.
For 40 years, Anderson was designated by the Federal Aviation Administration as a medical examiner in the region. It meant pilots, air traffic controllers and others who were required to have health exams could make an appointment with him. Indeed, documents obtained by the AP under a public records request provide a small window on that part of his work.
Anderson set his rates and had no financial relationship with the FAA. He proudly defended his skills when another doctor complained that he was performing too many exams and not grounding many pilots.
“I schedule two exams a day and two extra on Thursday evenings and three on Saturday,” he told the FAA in 1973. “This quite comfortably handles over 750 a year, if desired. ... I have not approached this number, as your records will show.”