OBGYN is accused of nearly 80 sexual assaults; institutions settle with victims.
Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Hospital have reached a settlement in a gynecologist sexual assault case involving nearly 80 women who had claimed they, at one time, were abused by former doctor Robert Hadden, 63, who is currently facing federal criminal charges that stem back two decades.
Hadden was indicted on gynecologist sexual assault charges in September 2020 for abusing women between 1993 and 2012. He was ultimately convicted in 2016 following a guilty plea to “criminal sex act in the third degree and forcible touching,” surrendering his medical license, although he is now facing additional charges. A $71.5 million fund will be set up and administered by a third-party special master in order to compensate victims that come forward.
Audrey Strauss, acting United States attorney in Manhattan, said Hadden had “inappropriately touched, squeezed and even licked his victims” under the pretense that he was conducting examinations.
Evelyn Yang, the wife of the former presidential candidate and New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, was allegedly one of Hadden’s victims. She made public what had happened last year, stating that she was assaulted when she was a patient of Hadden’s in 2012.
Yang, and fellow sexual assault survivor Marissa Hoechstetter, issued a statement saying that, while they are not part of the legal action, they “intend to fully expose the institutional coverup that resulted in hundreds, if not thousands, of women being sexually abused by Robert Hadden over his 20+ year tenure at Columbia University.”
Adam P. Slater, an attorney for the women who had filed civil lawsuits, said that while there’s no way to undo what the former doctor did, the settlement “will hopefully reduce their trauma, allow them to find some measure of closure and put this horrific ordeal behind them.”
“Every patient deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and to be safe and secure,” added Donna Lynne, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “We are deeply sorry that Hadden violated these fundamental obligations.”
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. responded to the outcome by saying, “The abusive behavior alleged here took place over the course of nearly two decades, which means there could be many victims out there we have not heard from. We are asking anyone seeing this information to reach out to us. We want you to know FBI special agents, New York Police Department (NYPD) detectives, analysts, victim specialists, and prosecutors investigating this case are here for each and every one of you, and we are your advocates. It is important to remember nothing Dr. Hadden has done was, or ever will be, your fault. We see time and time again that voices matter, and those who have stepped forward have empowered others to do the same. If you have been victimized by Robert Hadden in any way or have any additional information about his alleged illegal behavior, please call us at 1-800-CALL-FBI, or reach out to us at www.tips.fbi.gov.”