A former gynecologist in New York accused of sexual assault by multiple patients, including the wife of former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, has been indicted on Wednesday for his alleged crimes spanning nearly two decades.
Indictment details: Former Columbia University gynecologist Robert Hadden, 62, is facing six counts of enticing and inducing dozens of victims to go to his New York clinic and subjecting them to sexual abuse from about 1993 to 2012, CNN reported.
- Based on the indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
- The charges against Hadden involved a minor and five adults.
- At a news conference, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss called Hadden “a predator in a white coat.”
- “He allegedly used the cover of conducting medical examinations to engage in sexual abuse that he passed off as normal and medically necessary, when it was neither normal nor necessary – it was criminal,” Strauss was quoted as saying.
- Strauss said that for many of Hadden’s victims, he was their first gynecologist and did not know what to expect during an OB/GYN examination.
- Prosecutors stated Hadden used the guise of “mole checks” and pelvic examinations to abuse his patients by inappropriately touching and licking them, CBS News reported.
- He allegedly “sought out and abused” a girl who he delivered himself as a baby and “inflicted her with the same abuse he inflicted upon adults,” Strauss said.
- Hadden entered a not guilty plea and has been ordered to be released on a $1 million bond secured by his home and to be monitored.
Previous charges: In 2014, Hadden was charged in New York state court on allegations of sexual assault involving six women, in which he agreed to plead guilty to two individual counts of a criminal sex act in the third degree and forcible touching two years later.
- With the plea deal, Hadden’s sex-offender status was downgraded to the lowest level, enabling him to avoid getting listed in New York State’s online sex offender registry.
- Hadden was not jailed for his criminal acts, however, forfeited his medical license after the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance dropped all other charges and agreed “not to pursue cases related to other alleged victims “known to the District Attorney’s Office as of on or before February 22, 2016.'”
- In 2018, Marissa Hoechstetter and 16 other former patients sued Hadden and Columbia University, alleging a “massive coverup” of the doctor’s abuses.
Hadden’s accusers: Evelyn Yang, wife of Andrew Yang, brought national attention to the doctor’s illegal activities after she shared her allegations against Hadden in an interview with CNN, encouraging other victims to come forward with even more allegations.
- The 2018 lawsuit against Hadden and Columbia University initially had 17 plaintiffs but now includes dozens of more women.
- According to the case’s lead attorney, Anthony T. DiPietro, dozens of women came forward with new allegations against Hadden following Evelyn Yang’s interview.
- According to CNN, new evidence also came to light recently indicating that Columbia University officials were warned about Hadden’s behavior as far back as the mid-1990s.
- While Evelyn Yang was not one of the accusers identified in the indictment, she thanked prosecutors for bringing the charges against Hadden.
- “They are long overdue,” she said on Wednesday. “This physician abused dozens of women, including minors, under the guise of practicing medicine and should not be walking free.”