(NEW YORK) — Opening statements are scheduled for Monday in the trial of a former Columbia University gynecologist accused of sexually abusing patients, including a minor, two who were pregnant and Evelyn Yang, wife of former presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
Dr. Robert Hadden, 64, pleaded not guilty in September 2020 to six counts of enticing and inducing victims to his medical offices and subjecting them to unlawful sexual abuse. Federal prosecutors alleged Hadden also assaulted “dozens of female patients, including multiple minors” between 1993 and 2012.
Each of the federal charges against Hadden carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
“Hadden allegedly used the examinations of his victims for his own sexual gratification, abusing dozens of victims over a nearly 20-year period, including multiple minor girls, one of whom Hadden had himself delivered. The allegations show that Hadden acted as a predator in a white coat,” said Audrey Strauss, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York at the time the charges were announced.
Hadden tried unsuccessfully to dismiss the indictment, arguing the federal government delayed bringing charges against him for conduct dating from 1997-2012. Hadden said it violated the Due Process Clause because it “severely prejudiced” his ability to defend himself.”
Columbia University announced a $230 million settlement with more than 200 of Hadden’s patients, The Associated Press reported in October.
In 2016, Hadden pleaded guilty of abusing six women in a no-jail plea deal with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, leading to questions over how then-district attorney Cy Vance handled sex crimes. Under current DA Alvin Bragg the office has since reorganized the sex crimes unit.
“Thank you to the US Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York for bringing these charges against Dr. Hadden. They are long overdue. This physician abused dozens of women, including minors, under the guise of practicing medicine and should not be walking free,” Evelyn Yang said in a statement when the federal charges were announced.
According to the criminal charges, Hadden developed a relationship with his victims before engaging in a course of increasingly abusive conduct, which he tried to mask under the guise of legitimate medical care. Hadden invited victims to meet with him alone in his office, sent nurses and medical assistants out of the examination room for periods of time and, according to the indictment, enticed and coerced six particular victims, including a minor, to travel to New York City from another state to engage in illegal sexual activity.
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