Robert Hadden Sexual Abuse Lawsuits
On July 25, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Robert Hadden—a former obstetrician/gynecologist at Columbia University Medical Center—was sentenced to 20 years in prison for enticing and inducing four victims to travel interstate to engage in unlawful sexual activity. Hadden was convicted of this crime on January 24, 2023.
The sexual abuse lawyers at Chaffin Luhana are currently examining cases in which patients treated by Robert Hadden were sexually violated and/or abused. Call our experienced attorneys to schedule a complimentary consultation at 1-888-480-1123.
Who Is Robert Hadden?
Robert Hadden started practicing medicine in 1987. He worked in prestigious Manhattan hospitals and affiliated medical offices, including Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. He was also an Assistant Clinical Professor of OB-GYN at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons.
Allegations of Hadden’s abuse during medical exams first surfaced in 2012. A patient went to the police after an office visit with Hadden, saying he had made oral contact with her private parts during the exam. Hadden was arrested, but due to a lack of evidence, the police didn’t bring charges at the time.
Hadden was, however, put under criminal investigation. He returned to work and continued to see patients for about another month until he was removed from his post. He hasn’t practiced medicine since 2012.
In 2014, Hadden was indicted on charges he sexually abused six patients. Most of them were pregnant. The victims claimed he fondled and performed oral sex on them between September 2011 and 2012. They were also subjected to overly frequent and invasive breast exams.
In 2016, a Manhattan Supreme Court sentenced Hadden to a conditional discharge as part of a plea deal. Hadden admitted to engaging in forcible touching and unwarranted sexual contact for no valid medical purpose. He pleaded guilty to two individual counts of a criminal sex act in the third degree and forcible touching. He had to forfeit his medical license and register as a sex offender, but he did not have to go to jail. He wasn’t even put on probation.
That year, the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) issued an order mandating that all of Hadden’s patients be informed that the doctor had lost his license.
In December 2018, seventeen women sued Hadden and Columbia University and NewYork-Presbyterian, where Hadden was employed. Allegations in the lawsuit date back to the early 1990s. Two of the women were 15 and 16 years old when they were allegedly abused by Hadden. In the following months, at least a dozen more women came forward.
Wife of Andrew Yang Shares Her Story of Abuse by Robert Hadden
Hadden’s behavior gained wider awareness in January 2020 when Evelyn Yang, wife of 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang, sat down for an interview with CNN. She stated that when she was pregnant with her first child, Hadden asked her inappropriate questions about her sexual activity that were unrelated to her health or the health of her unborn child.
“There was absolutely no premise for that line of questioning,” she said, “and it seemed like he just wanted to hear about me talking about sex.” Yang assured herself she should trust the doctor.
Months later, she says he assaulted her in the name of a medical exam. “I knew it was wrong,” she said. “I knew I was being assaulted.” But she froze in the moment and waited for it to be over. She blamed herself for a long time and didn’t tell anyone what had happened.
It was only when she received a letter saying that Hadden had left his practice—and when she found an online news article about another woman who was allegedly abused—that she told her husband.
After that, she joined a sexual abuse case against Hadden and testified before a Manhattan grand jury. This was the 2016 case in which Hadden lost his medical license. She was disappointed when he didn’t go to jail, but glad he wouldn’t be able to abuse anyone else under the guise of medical care.
After Yang’s interview, about 40 other women came forward with allegations against Hadden.
More Women Come Forward with Allegations Against Robert Hadden
On September 9, 2020, the U.S. DOJ announced that Robert Hadden was arrested and charged with enticing and inducing six victims to travel interstate to engage in illegal sexual activity. One of the victims was a minor. Prosecutors stated that Hadden had assaulted victims over the course of nearly two decades “under the guise of conducting purported gynecological and obstetric examinations.”
The charges involved six cases in which patients traveled to see Hadden, but the prosecutors alleged in the indictment that the doctor had assaulted dozens of female patients, including multiple minors, between 1993 and 2012.
On January 24, 2023, Hadden was convicted in a trial for inducing four victims to travel interstate to his medical offices in Manhattan so he could sexually abuse them. The government was able to prove that Hadden abused dozens of patients over the course of more than two decades under the guise of purported medical examinations.
Finally, on July 25, 2023, U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman sentenced Hadden to 20 years in prison. Hadden was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.
Medical Centers Failed to Protect Patients
It’s not just Robert Hadden who is under fire for abusing his patients. The medical centers he worked for, too, allowed the abuse to go on for years without taking the appropriate action.
Evelyn Yang, for instance, found out that Columbia University, which ran the medical facility where Hadden allegedly abused her, allowed the doctor to return to work after his first arrest in 2012. The University allowed him to come back after that, and he went on to allegedly abuse Yang and potentially other patients as well.
“He was arrested in his office,” Yang told CNN. She added that at the very least, the medical center should have insisted that an aide be present in the office with patients at all times. Instead, nothing was done.
Yang and 31 other women are now suing Columbia University and its affiliates, arguing that they actively concealed, conspired, and enabled Hadden’s sexual exploitation.
Marissa Hoechstetter, one of the many women who sued Hadden and the medical centers where he worked in 2018, told Politico that Columbia University—rather than taking responsibility to help protect patients—only sought to distance themselves from it.
“They have refused to take any responsibility for the fact that they employed him for this long, that he was a teaching member of the faculty, that there are people who worked with him who claim to have reported this activity,” she said. She added, “They’ve refused to engage with me…They just deny, deny, deny.”
On February 28, 2020, CNN reported that investigators had obtained a letter written by a former patient and sent to Columbia officials. It detailed her allegations of sexual abuse by Robert Hadden. The letter was dated 1994.
The head of the hospital’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology unit responded with a letter to the patient acknowledging receipt and saying her concerns would be addressed. The patient stated the official never got back to her.
To this day, Columbia University has refused to notify thousands of women who were exposed to Robert Hadden that he lost his license because of sexual abuse charges.
Columbia University Settles Lawsuits with Hadden’s Alleged Victims
In December 2021, Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital agreed to settle claims of sexual abuse with 79 of Hadden’s victims for a total of approximately $71.5 million. The agreement established a compensation fund to be distributed under the direction of an independent special master.
In October 2022, Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian reached a $165 million agreement with 147 past patients of Robert Hadden. This agreement also established a compensation fund to be distributed among the women under the direction of an independent special master.
“We deeply regret the pain that Robert Hadden’s patients suffered and hope that these resolutions will provide some measure of support for the women he hurt,” Columbia said in a statement.
Hadden’s victims maintain that the university medical centers did not do nearly enough to protect their patients. Indeed, they routinely covered up Hadden’s abuse, ignored victim’s reports, and enabled him to continue abusing women for decades. They failed to take any disciplinary action against him even after he was arrested and were more interested in their reputations than their patients’ safety.
In 2013, for instance, after Hadden’s arrest and removal from his post, Columbia University failed to tell patients the truth about what happened. Instead, they sent out a “Dear Patient” letter that simply said Hadden was closing his practice and that patients could continue care with another “trusted” Columbia University doctor.
Even after the OPMC mandated that all Hadden’s patients be notified that he had lost his medical license, Columbia University refused to do so, claiming that was Hadden’s responsibility.
Records Show a Possible Pattern of Ignoring Abuse
The law requires that medical professionals report any professional misconduct of their colleagues to the State Licensing agency. Unfortunately, hospitals and medical clinics are often more concerned about maintaining a façade of safety than truly protecting their patients.
Columbia University is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. These medical centers seem to be showing a pattern of ignoring the safety of their patients. Dr. Darius Paduch, who worked at NewYork-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center and Northwell Health for years, was also arrested on April 11, 2023, by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) after he was indicted by a grand jury on four counts of unlawful sexual activity.
From at least 2015 through 2019, Paduch “enticed and induced multiple victims to travel to his medical offices” so he could, among other things, sexually abuse and assault them, according to the indictment. After he moved to Northwell Health in 2019, he continued his abusive activities there.
This is very similar to what happened with Robert Hadden. It also reveals a potential pattern on the part of these institutions of turning a blind eye toward sexual abuse occurring in their own offices.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC), New York has only a “61” rating (out of a possible 100) when it comes to protecting patients from sexually abusive doctors.
Potential Sexual Abuse Injuries
Victims of sexual abuse may suffer from the following injuries. Those who were abused as children are even more susceptible to neurological damage.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Panic attacks
- Substance abuse
- Disordered sleep
- Sexual dysfunction
Robert Hadden Sexual Abuse Lawsuits
If you believe you were sexually abused or assaulted by former OB-GYN Robert Hadden, talk to a sexual abuse attorney right away. You may be eligible to file a lawsuit. Call our experienced attorneys to schedule a complimentary consultation at 1-888-480-1123.
Frequently Asked Questions
What did Dr. Robert Hadden do to his patients?
Robert Hadden sexually assaulted and abused hundreds of his patients under the guise of medical care while employed at Columbia University and NewYork-Presbyterian medical centers. He practiced medicine from 1987 to 2012 and was allowed to continue this abuse unchecked for two decades.
Where did Robert Hadden work?
Robert Hadden worked at several medical facilities across New York City. These include Columbia University, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
What Criminal Charges Has Robert Hadden Faced?
Robert Hadden has been convicted of felony sexual assault of a patient and pleaded guilty to two state charges of a criminal sex act in the third degree and forcible touching. He was recently convicted of enticing and inducing four victims to travel interstate for unlawful sexual activity.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit against Robert Hadden?
In May 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law the New York Adult Survivors Act. It created a one-year lookback window for survivors of sexual assault that occurred when they were over the age of 18 to sue their abusers regardless of when the abuse occurred. The window began six months after the signing.
In 2019, New York extended the statute of limitations to 20 years for adults filing civil lawsuits for a select number of sex crimes. However, that legislation only affected new cases and was not retroactive.
This means that new cases of minor sexual abuse that took place after this law went into effect can be filed up until the victim’s 55th birthday. The law is not retroactive, however, so abuse cases that took place before 2019 must be filed before the victim turns 23.
Those who were adults at the time of the abuse—and for whom the abuse occurred before the new statute of limitations went into effect—have until November 23, 2023, to file a case under the look-back window.
Check with your sexual abuse attorney for more information on your case.
I don’t want to reveal my identity. Can I file a lawsuit anonymously?
Yes, you can request to remain anonymous. New York law typically allows attorneys to file lawsuits on behalf of their clients using a pseudonym. Many plaintiffs have already done so. Talk to your sexual abuse attorneyfor a free, no-obligation case evaluation and to learn more about your possible legal options.