NEW YORK — (TodayNews) — A gynecologist who has sexually abused vulnerable and gullible patients in prestigious New York hospitals for more than two decades wept before a federal judge sentenced him to 20 years in prison Tuesday, calling his crimes unprecedented.
The sentencing of 64-year-old Robert Hadden came as a rehab measure for hundreds of former patients who accused the doctor of molesting them during checkups, only to see a previous prosecution end in a plea deal that saved him from prison.
Given the opportunity to speak on Tuesday, Hadden stood with his hands folded in front of him to say “I have a lot to say,” but lawyers advised him to keep his statement short.
“I’m so sorry for all the pain I caused,” Hadden sobbed, before lowering his head and sitting back down. Then he took off his glasses and wiped the tears from his eyes.
In statements made over the past two days, U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman said the case was unlike anything he had seen before and involved “outrageous, horrifying, beyond extraordinary, depraved sexual assault.” He noted that at least 245 of the women Hadden treated said they had been abused.
There were fewer victims in federal court. Hadden was found guilty on four counts of seducing women across state lines so that he could rape them.
Nine victims testified at trial describing how Hadden molested them during gynecological treatments beginning in the late 1980s at prominent hospitals including Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
Allegations of misconduct during interrogations first surfaced in 2012. In 2014, Hadden was indicted as the women – 19 and counting – continued to perform. But in 2016, then-Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr.’s office allowed Hadden to plead guilty to two misdemeanors and a misdemeanor in a deal that required him to waive his medical license, but did not require jail time and kept him out of the state sex offender registry.
Some of the women who went to the prosecutor’s office were outraged, but their stories didn’t get public attention until the #MeToo movement began to gain momentum in 2017.
In 2020, Manhattan federal prosecutors filed a grand jury indictment against Hadden based on the fact that some of the patients in his New York offices traveled to the city from out-of-state suburbs. In January he was convicted.
Nine victims spoke at the first stage of the Hadden hearing last month. Numerous victims attended the trial on Monday and Tuesday but were not invited to speak again.
“Robert Hadden is a sexy predator dressed in a white coat,” a woman who went by the pseudonym Emily Anderson told Berman last month.
According to court testimony, Hadden capitalized on the prestige of the hospitals where he worked, tending to his patients in a private office adorned with photographs of his children as he conversed with them about their private lives.
But as soon as he isolated them after the attendant or nurse had left the treatment room, he caressed and prodded them with bare fingers and sometimes orally.
The judge noted that many of the patients were particularly vulnerable because they were pregnant, had physical problems, or had never seen another gynecologist, and believed that Hadden was behaving correctly.
One of his accusers was Evelyn Young, whose husband Andrew Young ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for President in 2020 and Mayor of New York in 2022. She said that Hadden raped her many years ago when she was seven months pregnant. The Associated Press generally does not name victims of sexual assault unless they are publicly reporting it.
Some women abused by Hadden later pushed for changes to state law that would make it easier for victims of sexual assault to file lawsuits on charges that would not normally be subject to a statute of limitations. The hospitals where Hadden worked have agreed to pay more than $236 million to settle civil claims by more than 200 former patients.
Hadden’s lawyer, Deirdre von Dornum, asked the judge on Tuesday to give credit to her client for his efforts to reform himself and his dedication to his family.
A day earlier, when the judge announced that he was planning to give her a 20-year sentence, she complained that Berman had been too harsh.
“Here you have a man who has already lost everything, and you are actually giving him a life sentence,” she said.
The lawyer said her client is in harsh conditions at a federal prison in Brooklyn, where inmates threaten and extort money from him from the store.
Assistant US Attorney Jane Kim said on Tuesday that Hadden has yet to take responsibility for his crimes.
She said that he had “all the same sexual disorders that he had when he was sexually abusive.”
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