1st woman alleges sexual abuse against late University of Michigan doctor Robert E. Anderson
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
NOVI — The first female to publicly say she was sexually abused by a team doctor at the University of Michigan says she hopes to inspire other women and men to come forward.
Cathy Kalahar, who played tennis for the Wolverines in the 1970s, joins hundreds of Michigan graduates who allege that doctor Robert Anderson molested them. Anderson died in 2008.
Kalahar told The Associated Press on Monday that Anderson, a L’Anse native, assaulted her during an exam when she was a freshman in 1973. She was a member of the school’s first women’s tennis team.
“I really shut down and kind of put myself into a different space,” she recalled. “I wanted to crawl into the wall. I wanted to crawl into the floor. I just wanted to get away from him.”
Kalahar said she told a psychological counselor at the school about what happened but that the woman, whose name Kalahar does not recall, brushed it off as a “sexual fantasy” the student was having about Anderson.
“My motivation is to help other victims to come to terms, to possibly come forward,” Kalahar said at a news conference Tuesday in suburban Detroit. “I’ve chosen to come forward because I think it’s important that the university understand all the networks that were operating that protected this individual.”
School spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said the University of Michigan condemns all sexual misconduct, past or present, and that it has taken extensive measures to combat the misconduct.
The university has sent emails or letters to more than 300,000 former students, asking them to share information that “may be helpful” in an investigation of Anderson being conducted by the WilmerHale law firm.
Kalahar is represented by Denver-based Wahlberg, Woodruff, Nimmo & Sloane, a law firm that is representing more than 115 clients who allege sexual abuse by Anderson.
“There is mediation scheduled in September,” attorney Parker Stinar said.