Jim Harbaugh defends Bo Schembechler in light of Robert Anderson abuse report

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BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Jim Harbaugh is defending Bo Schembechler.

The Michigan football coach met with members of the media on Thursday during the Ferris State Showcase camp at Top Taggart Field.

It was the first time Harbaugh publicly spoke about his former head coach and mentor and his role in the Robert Anderson's sexual assaults on athletes and students. Michigan commissioned 240-page report from the WilmerHale law firm, which said Schembechler was told by several players about Anderson's behavior.

"I can tell you this," Harbaugh said. "Bo Schembechler ... there was nothing that I saw in the times when I was a kid here, my dad was on staff or when I played here ... he never sat on anything. He never procrastinated on anything. He took care of it before the sun went down. That's the Bo Schembechler that I know. There's nothing that ever was swept under the rug or ignored. He addressed everything in a timely fashion. That's the Bo Schembechler that I knew."

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Spotlight Michigan, an organization formed for the "accountability for the crimes of Dr. Robert E. Anderson," released a statement responding to Harbaugh's comments.

"It's very unfortunate, yet not surprising, that Coach Harbaugh is choosing to ignore the voices of 850 victims," Spotlight Michigan spokesperson Autria Lindsay said. "Turning a blind eye and denying the problem has been the Michigan way for decades now, and it's clear Coach Harbaugh is going to continue following the Bo Schembechler method.

"While the abuse suffered at the hands of serial predator Dr. Robert Anderson continues to haunt his hundreds of victims, these brave men and women are further victimized when their horrific allegations of rape and sexual assault aren't considered credible by those in power," the statement continued. "We had hoped Coach Harbaugh would be the face of a new era for the Michigan football program."

Free Press staff reports contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh defends Bo Schembechler's legacy