A renowned gynaecologist, Robert Hadden, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually abusing more than 200 vulnerable patients over the course of two decades at prestigious New York hospitals.
The federal judge presiding over the case described his crimes as “outrageous, horrific, beyond extraordinary, depraved sexual abuse.”
The victims, who had once trusted Hadden with their well-being, accused him of molesting them during gynaecology examinations, leaving them scarred emotionally and physically. The judge noted that many of the victims were particularly vulnerable, including pregnant women and those with physical issues, making them easy targets for Hadden’s predatory behaviour.
During the sentencing, Hadden expressed remorse, saying, “I’m very sorry for all the pain that I have caused.” However, some of the survivors found his apology hollow. One of the victims, Liz Hall, shared her feelings, saying, “That was not an apology. He has shown zero remorse or empathy. I think he’s incapable.”
The case came to public attention after the #MeToo movement gained momentum in 2017, sparking outrage among the victims who had previously sought justice through state prosecutors. However, an earlier plea bargain had spared Hadden from jail time and kept him out of the state’s sex offender registry, leaving many women disillusioned.
Federal prosecutors took up the case in 2020, leading to Hadden’s conviction on four counts of enticing women to cross state lines to sexually abuse them. During the trial, nine victims bravely testified against the gynaecologist, describing the horrifying experiences they endured during treatments at prominent hospitals such as Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
The courage of these survivors and the ensuing trial also led to significant changes in New York law, making it easier for survivors of sexual abuse to pursue legal action even after the statute of limitations had expired. Hospitals, where Hadden worked, agreed to pay more than $236 million to settle civil claims filed by over 200 former patients.
One victim, Dian Monson, revealed that she had reported the abuse to Columbia back in 1994 but received no action from the hospital until the recent exposure of Hadden’s crimes. She remarked, “I kind of caught him. We all kind of caught him.”
The sentencing of Robert Hadden serves as a measure of vindication for the brave survivors who finally see their abuser face justice. It also serves as a reminder of the importance of standing together to expose and prevent such heinous crimes from occurring in the future.