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Bo Schembechler statue disfigured after sexual abuse allegations


The statue of Bo Schembechler in Michigan has been disfigured by paint. (Photo by Bill Pugliano / Getty Images)

Content Warning: This story contains cases of sexual abuse and rape.

The statue of Bo Schembechler in Michigan was disfigured with red paint early Wednesday, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Spots of red paint covered parts of the statue’s face, shoulders, chest, legs and feet. The person responsible for the degradation of the statue also left a message of support for survivors of sexual abuse. On the floor near the statue, the words “Bo knew #hailtothevictims” were spray painted black.

An individual claiming to be responsible for the painting emailed the Detroit Free Press and said he wrote the post on behalf of alleged sexual abuse survivors of former Michigan doctor Robert Anderson.

“This action is being carried out in solidarity with the Hail to the Victims campaign,” read the email. “Bo Schembechler has long been considered an iconic Michigan coach, but he knew that Robert Anderson, the team’s doctor in the 1970s and 1980s, sexually assaulted countless players every year. When Bo’s son had him faced with his own assault, Bo hit him and “

Anderson has been charged with 850 cases of sexual abuse, fondling and rape during physical therapy and exams. Anderson – who died in 2008 – spent 35 years as a team doctor in Michigan. Schembechler began coaching the team in 1969 and spent 20 seasons in Michigan.

A number of former Michigan players reportedly informed Schembechler – who died in 2006 – of the alleged abuse at the time, but Schembechler took no action against Anderson. Schembechler’s stepson Matt said he was one of the people who informed Schembechler of Anderson’s abuse after Matt was fondled and digitally penetrated by Anderson during an exam. Matt claimed he was hit by Schembechler after telling him about Anderson.

Michigan to investigate Bo Schembechler statue vandalism

University of Michigan spokesman Rick Fitzgerald told the Detroit Free Press that the school will investigate the situation and “hold those responsible for their actions.”

“We understand and appreciate the passionate advocacy on behalf of those who have been abused by the late Robert Anderson,” he said in a statement. “But the vandalism of the Bo Schembechler statue at the University of Michigan will be fully investigated to hold those responsible for their actions.

“We continue to work towards fair compensation for Anderson survivors through the confidential and court-supervised mediation process and we work every day to make our campus safer for every member of our community. “

The statue incident happened just days before Michigan played Ohio State, the team’s biggest rival.