A Call for Witnesses: Survivors of Sexual Predator Dr. Robert Hadden
Columbia University, which formerly employed the now disgraced gynecologist and sexual abuser Dr. Robert Hadden, has agreed to establish a $100 million settlement fund that will open for one year starting January 1, 2024, to compensate victims of the doctor’s abuse.
The university also agreed to notify the nearly 6,500 patients Dr. Hadden saw about his conviction and sentencing. The development comes after mounting pressure from Columbia medical students, staff, legislators and survivors of Dr. Hadden’s abuse.
Read the full release from Columbia University regarding Dr. Hadden and the creation of the $100 million fund.
Dr. Robert Hadden is a serial sexual predator who sexually abused more than 200 women while working as a gynecologist at prominent New York hospitals. His former employers have agreed to pay more than $236 million to settle civil claims brought by more than 200 of Hadden’s former patients. This article provides details about Dr. Hadden, the criminal proceedings against him, and the abuse he committed. If you or someone you know has been abused by Dr. Hadden, contact us to be connected to one of our attorneys.
PCVA is highly experienced with pursuing civil claims of sexual abuse arising from doctors who have abused their patients. Notably, we have filed dozens of cases in New York City on behalf of victims of disgraced urologist Dr. Darius Paduch against the medical institutions that employed him. You can read more about that litigation here.
Who is Dr. Robert Hadden?
Hadden was a gynecologist who worked at prominent hospitals in New York City since the 1980s. As of August 2023, he is 64 years old and most recently resided in Englewood, New Jersey. Hadden’s work history includes Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
To date, more than 245 women who Hadden treated have come forward alleging abuse. Hadden was initially prosecuted for his abuse after allegations of sexual misconduct during his gynecological examinations first arose in 2012. That led to an indictment on state charges in 2014. However, in 2016, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office allowed Hadden to plead guilty to two minor felonies and a misdemeanor in exchange for Hadden relinquishing his medical license. Despite multiple women coming forward at the time alleging sexual assault, Hadden served no jail time, nor did he have to register as a sex offender in New York State.
Suffice to say, Hadden’s victims were rightfully outraged by what amounted to a slap on the wrist. Fortunately for the victims, federal prosecutors were able to pursue federal charges against Hadden for his sexual assault because some of the patients in his New York office had traveled across state lines to receive care.
What were the results of the federal case against Dr. Robert Hadden?
Unlike the state case, which led to no jail time for Hadden’s many instances of sexual assault against patients, the federal case ended with a prison sentence. Hadden was first indicted by a grand jury in 2020. A conviction followed in January 2023. According to a statement by the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, “the government proved at trial that the defendant sexually abused dozens of patients over the course of more than two decades under the guise of purported medical examinations.”
On July 25, 2023, Hadden was sentenced to 20 years in prison for enticing and inducing four victims to travel interstate to engage in unlawful sexual activity. At the sentencing, the judge described Hadden’s conduct as “exceptional and unprecedented,” “shocking in the extreme,” “horrific” and “depraved.” Contributing to the sentence, which was the statutory maximum penalty for each count of conviction, the judge considered the magnitude and scope of Hadden’s serial sexual abuse, its unchecked nature, Hadden’s skillfulness at deception, the predatory nature of the abuse, and the fact that Hadden preyed on vulnerable patients who put their trust into him.
How did Dr. Robert Hadden abuse his victims?
According to testimony in the federal case, Hadden abused his victims for approximately 25 years, stretching from about 1987 to 2012. His abuse was not isolated to a few victims, but rather more than 200, many of whom were repeatedly sexually assaulted by Hadden, sometimes spanning a period of years.
Hadden would use his position of authority at prestigious medical institutions in New York City to make his victims believe that the sexual abuse he perpetuated was appropriate and medically necessary treatment. Prosecutors referred to his predatory techniques as “sophisticated” and cited his abuse of the power differential inherent in the doctor-patient relationship. Often, he would build a rapport with his victims to give them a false sense of security. He would then ask invasive questions about his patients’ sexual activity and provide unsolicited advice on these topics.
Hadden then would sexually assault his victims under the guise of breast and vaginal examinations. Methods of abuse, according to prosecutors, included massaging and groping victims’ breasts and nipples for a prolonged period, extracting and tasting breast milk from victims’ breasts, using his fingers to penetrate and rub victims’ genitals, and even orally abusing his victims. All of this was conducted under the false pretense of legitimate medical care.
Did the hospitals where Robert Hadden worked know about the abuse?
Multiple victims alerted the hospitals where Hadden was employed to the abuse. One victim had written a long letter to one of the hospitals way back in 1994 detailing the abuse she suffered at the hands of Hadden the year prior. According to the victim, the hospital responded in a letter with a promise to ask Hadden about the allegations but never followed up with the victim.
So far hospitals where Hadden worked have agreed to pay more than $236 million to settle civil claims by more than 200 former patients.
I feel like I was violated by Dr. Robert Hadden, but does it merit filing a lawsuit?
Hadden exploited his position as a physician and masked his abuse as medical treatment. Even if there is no outward injury to the body, sexual abuse can have serious psychological effects.
The effects of sexual violence can include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Panic attacks
- Substance abuse
- Disordered sleep
- Sexual dysfunction
These are serious issues that can harm a person’s ability to work, study, maintain relationships and enjoy their lives the way they used to. Treatment for sexual abuse-related damage can take a long time and become very expensive.
Who is responsible for Dr. Robert Hadden’s sexual abuse?
In New York, a doctor’s employer has a responsibility to ensure that patients and students are safe when seeking treatment and using its facilities. The employer should be held responsible if its employee commits crimes that harm patients and the employer either knew or should have known that the employee posed a danger. According to news reports, several plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Hadden reported the abuse to Hadden’s employers but no disciplinary action was taken.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit in New York if I was sexually assaulted or abused?
The New York Adult Survivors Act gives certain deadlines for survivors of sexual abuse to file lawsuits regarding abuse they suffered as an adult. The deadlines fall into two categories.
Survivors have until they reach the age of 55 to file a lawsuit against the perpetrator and an institution if:
- The abuse occurred after 2018, or
- They were under the age of 21 as of February 14, 2018
Other survivors had until November 23 to file under the Adult Survivors Act. There is legislative discussion about possibly reopening the window in the future or future statutory reform. We are happy to speak to you about your options and rights.
Can I come forward or sue anonymously if I’m worried about my privacy?
Most likely. The law usually allows attorneys to file lawsuits on behalf of survivors of sexual abuse using a pseudonym, like “John Doe” or “Jane Doe,” or our client’s initials. Moreover, it may be possible to resolve your case privately without filing a lawsuit or going to court.
How can survivors receive damages for sexual abuse?
Our attorneys have been involved in some of the most complicated and concerning sexual abuse cases in the country and are often consulted by other law firms for guidance and expertise when representing sexual abuse survivors. We take a trauma-informed approach to our representation that acknowledges the sensitive nature of these cases.
Every case is different and results – which depend on the facts of the case – cannot be guaranteed. However, we will fight to hold accountable the institutions and individuals who failed to protect survivors. Through our efforts, we have helped recover hundreds of millions of dollars in damages on behalf of abuse survivors. While no amount of monetary compensation can erase the trauma of abuse, the financial assistance can help pay for necessary expenses to allow the healing process to begin.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual abuse or assault at the hands of Dr. Robert Hadden, our attorneys are here to listen and help. Learn more about how we help sexual abuse survivors or schedule a no obligation consultation with one of our lawyers by completing our online form or by calling us at (206) 536-2850.
How much do you charge?
Our work is done on a contingency basis. This means that you do not pay us on an hourly basis, and we advance the costs of litigation. If we help you resolve your case, we receive a percentage of the amount you receive, and you reimburse us for the costs we advanced on your behalf.
Our Case Results
PCVA has a lengthy history of pursuing damages from healthcare institutions that employed healthcare professionals who abused their positions of authority to sexually assault patients. Most recently, we are pursuing dozens of claims against notorious sexual predator and former New York City urologist Dr. Darius Paduch. You can learn more about this case and its most recent developments here.
Some additional results we have achieved for our clients are listed below.
Confidential Settlements Reached in Pediatric Endocrinologist Sexual Abuse Case Against Rockefeller University Hospital
$8M Settlement Reached in Foss Home and Village Sex Abuse Lawsuit
$7.5M Settlement Reached in Coach Sexual Abuse Case Against Black Hills Football Club
$4.9M Settlement Reached in Toutle River Boys Ranch Sex Abuse Lawsuit
$4.2M Settlement Reached in Coach Sexual Abuse Case Against University Place School District
$1.4M Settlement Reached in Washington Department of Social and Health Services Foster Services Sex Abuse Lawsuit