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Nessel says UM sex abuse investigation would require $1M and waiving attorney-client rights

Michigan Radio

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 UM students and athletes have stepped forward with claims of abuse by Dr. Robert Anderson, who died in 2008.

They also say UM failed to protect them from the abuse.

The attorney general says she’s willing to investigate to determine whether UM is culpable. But Nessel says she cannot do that unless UM 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 as 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.”

The University of Michigan did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.