Robert Hadden, a former Columbia University gynecologist, has been criminally charged with sexual abuse during his tenure at various institutions in New York City.
With hundreds of former patients calling for justice, many have filed civil lawsuits against Columbia University for Hadden’s abuse.
Now that the New York Adult Survivors Act has finally been passed, sexual abuse victims have another chance to get the justice they deserve.
How did this all develop in the past few years?
And what can victims and their families do now?
The DiPietro Law Firm has shared a primer on the Robert Hadden lawsuit to give context about the events and what’s being done for victims today.
Keep reading to learn more.
Robert Hadden was a doctor who was licensed to practice in New York.
He mainly worked as a gynecologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the NewYork-Presbyterian (NYP) Hospital.
NYP was officially formed in 1998 through a merger of New York Hospital (affiliated initially with Cornell University) and Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital.
Hadden became a board-certified OB/GYN in 1993 and was recertified in 2003.
Hadden completed his residency in OB/GYN at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in 1991, then served as an assistant professor of clinical OB/GYN at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
He began work as a gynecologist at the Audobon Ave Clinic in late 1991.
He stayed there for approximately seven years while also working at a variety of other NYC medical offices, mainly under the umbrella of Columbia University.
Columbia University paid Hadden a salary for his private practice, care rendered at their hospitals, and work as an assistant professor, where he taught and supervised resident doctors.
Hadden’s private practice office was located at Columbia-Presbyterian Eastside (16 E 60th Street), a university-owned building.
Starting in 1993 up to 2012, Hadden sexually abused patients.
Some cases of sexual assault may have occurred before 1993.
However, the majority of the reports were within this window.
It was only when a former patient told the police about the sexual abuse she experienced from Hadden that his crimes finally gained public attention.
For nearly 25 years, Hadden used his position as a trusted healthcare professional to exploit women and girls, including pregnant women and new mothers.
One of the most famous women to speak out about Hadden’s abuse was Evelyn Yang, the wife of former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
During these medical sessions, he performed malicious acts on patients, routinely forcing patients to see him in private.
He touched their private parts under the guise of pelvic or medical exams and made inappropriate, sexually-charged comments.
Even with the many sexual assault victims, his crimes didn’t come to light until 2012.
Before then, women were already making complaints about his behavior.
Even nurses who’d witnessed the acts reported the incidents to their supervisors.
However, all these reports fell on deaf ears or were concealed by Columbia University higher-ups.
In 2012, one of Hadden’s patients reported him to the police – which is where the Dr. Hadden Lawsuit begins.
She reported that an act of sexual abuse occurred during her exam: she stated that Hadden licked her during the procedure.
Hadden was arrested, but the DA’s office didn’t bring charges since the DNA testing didn’t provide sufficient evidence.
By August of that year, Hadden had stopped practicing medicine.
A group of women filed sexual assault cases against Hadded one year after the initial police report.
Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital faced legal action since the women alleged cover-ups by the institutions to protect Hadden.
This event gained news coverage, allowing other victims to find solidarity and compile further evidence of Hadden’s sexual abuse.
These victims contacted the DA to provide their testimony until the prosecutors had enough admissible and probative evidence to charge Hadden.
Finally, former gynecologist, Robert Hadden, was indicted on June 2014 with several charges, including criminal sex acts, forcible touching, and sexual abuse.
Additional victims came out to provide their testimony, which resulted in a 39-page document listing all the allegations against Hadden.
Unfortunately, rape was the only sex crime with no statute of limitations.
The nature of Hadden’s crimes can only be prosecuted within five years after they happened, so only a few of the hundreds of victims were able to sue Hadden for his crimes.
Justice remained elusive for many of Hadden’s victims.
In 2015, Hadden’s lawyer Isabelle Kirshner argued that her client didn’t violate medical standards.
She even alleged that the women were only involved in the case to get a payout from false allegations.
In February 2016, Hadden pleaded guilty and struck a plea deal with the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. for committing a third-degree criminal sex act and forcible touching, resulting in Hadden surrendering his medical license.
However, that was all — he did not receive prison time and was placed on the lowest tier of the sex offenders list.
The New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) also ordered the involved New York hospitals to inform around 6,000 to 8,000 former patients of Hadden about the loss of his medical license.
As expected, the result of Hadden’s plea bargain drew ire from victims, their families, and the general public.
The discontent grew during the #MeToo movement, leading to more women telling their stories.
The battle to hold Hadden and Columbia liable was not over yet.
In September 2020, federal prosecutors alleged Hadden of abusing six victims, which included a minor.
This time, these charges concerned women who crossed state lines to get appointments with Hadden.
Investigations were also being called upon against Columbia University and its management’s role in enabling and protecting Hadden, as many victims submitted reports and complaints about Hadden’s abuse over the years.
In fact, the institution has allegedly been made aware of his acts as early as 1994.
After Hadden pleaded guilty and didn’t receive any jail time, his victims had to find other ways to get the justice they deserve.
Many turned to the two Columbia University-affiliated hospitals and filed suit for the abuse they suffered.
The DiPietro Law Firm filed suit against the New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center for failing to take action after sexual abuse occurred in their establishments.
The lawsuit claimed that supervisors played an active part in suppressing reports of Hadden’s misconduct, allowing and enabling him to abuse hundreds of women for more than two decades.
In December 2021, the two hospitals agreed to pay a $71.5 million settlement to 79 women who were sexually abused by Hadden.
Then, in October 2022, they paid an additional $165 Million to another 147 women — also past patients of the disgraced gynecologist.
The hospitals also promised to revise policies, adopt new ones, and use more resources to maintain safety and earn back the trust of future patients.
Rape was previously the only sexual abuse-related crime in New York that did not have a statute of limitations.
However, that changed when Governor Hochul signed the Adult Survivors Act (ASA) on May 24, 2022.
So from November 24, 2022, to November 23, 2023, anyone who’s been a victim of sexual abuse can file a claim in court and seek compensation.
In this act, survivors aren’t limited to suing their abusers.
They can also file claims against entities that enabled the abuse and prevented victims from getting the justice they deserve.
ASA allows you to go after institutions, organizations, and even individuals so they can answer for their actions.
Thanks to this act, anyone who has suffered Hadden’s sexual misconduct can file lawsuits and receive compensation for what they endured.
The new criminal trial for Robert Hadden resulted in the “predator in a white coat” being convicted on all counts presented by federal prosecutors.
The trial began in early 2023, stemming from six federal sex abuse charges handed down in September 2020.
The trial centered around Hadden’s solicitation of patients to travel from other states to his New York office.
There, he sexually abused them under the guise of medical care.
Throughout the trial, several women who were victims of Hadden shared emotional testimony about the crimes he committed.
Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, meaning Hadden will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.
In a statement after the conviction, Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said:
“Robert Hadden was a predator in a white coat. For years, he cruelly lured women who sought professional medical care to his offices in order to gratify himself. Hadden’s victims trusted him as a physician, only to instead become victims of his heinous predilection. We thank and commend the brave women who came forward to tell their stories, many of whom testified at trial, to end his years-long cycle of abuse.”
Even though Robert Hadden will be behind bars soon, the fight is not over.
Hadden is not the only one who has committed atrocious acts against women.
The very institutions that enabled his actions and protected him are complicit to the suffering that an untold number of women experienced.
Now that the ASA is in effect, victims from the past two decades and earlier have another chance to sue all parties involved in Hadden’s crimes.
The DiPietro Law Firm’s founder, Anthony T. DiPietro, Esq, has been a part of this fight for the past decade.
He has been helping clients sue Columbia University for the traumatic events they experienced.
The DiPietro Law Firm has helped former victims recover $236 million from Columbia University and its affiliates.
Anthony T. DiPietro and our team works with victims, knowing full well the complex emotions, challenges, and trauma that they are going through.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of Hadden’s abuse, our law firm is ready to hear your story and help you get the justice you deserve.
You are not alone in this fight; we’re here to help.
Contact us today for a consultation.
All inquiries are completely confidential, and you are more than welcome to contact us anonymously.
We’re currently investigating this case and many other cases involving serial sexual predators.
As more information becomes available on our cases, we will share it on the The DiPietro Law Firm Twitter account (@atdipietro).
If you’re a survivor of sexual exploitation and abuse, please contact our Free Consultation Helpline for a 100% confidential and free consultation about your case at (212) 233-3600.
You’re not alone anymore.
Somebody who sexually assaults patients under the guise of medical care DOES NOT deserve salutations.
Robert Hadden is not a doctor. Robert Hadden is a convicted sexual felon and is facing life in prison for the crimes he committed.
The only reason the DiPietro Law Firm uses “Dr. Robert Hadden” in some of our content is so that victims are able to find us when searching for help.
Here, at The DiPietro Law Firm, we’re committed to helping victims of sexual abuse and assault find the justice they deserve.
All information discussed during our consultations always remains completely 100% confidential.
Would you like our help?
Founder Anthony T. DiPietro, Esq. is a compassionate and skilled trial attorney who has completely dedicated the past 23 years of his career to litigating medical malpractice and sexual abuse cases against major corporate institutions including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and other wrongdoers.
Mr. DiPietro has also obtained some of New York State’s highest verdicts and settlements, and has been selected to New York State Super Lawyers® each year, for the past 10 years in a row.
In 2022, Mr. DiPietro was selected as one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators for the landmark cases he’s won on behalf of survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse.