Columbia University agrees to $165 million settlement with 147 former patients of OB-GYN Robert Hadden

Columbia University announced a $165 million settlement Friday with 147 women who said former gynecologist Robert Hadden sexually abused and misconducted them while he was their doctor.

Funds from the settlement will be distributed by a special master to be agreed upon by the parties. The agreement follows separately $71.5 million settlement he was joined in 2021 by 79 other former Hadden patients, who had been working with the university hospital for nearly 20 years.

Columbia University Irving Medical Center said in a statement that it has adopted policies to ensure patients are “protected and empowered while in our care.”

“We are deeply sorry for the pain that Robert Hadden’s patients have suffered and hope that these resolutions will provide some support to the women he has hurt,” the university said. “Everyone who came forward should be commended.”

Dr. Robert Hadden is charged
Dr. Robert Hadden appears in Manhattan Supreme Court Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014.

Jefferson Siegel/NY Daily News via Getty Images

The claims of some other former patients have not been settled, according to attorney Anthony DiPietro, who said he represents 236 former Hadden patients, including those who participated in Friday’s settlement and others who did not.

DiPietro said he believes there are other abuse survivors who have not come forward.

“This is just the beginning,” said DiPietro, who noted that Haden had thousands of patients during his career and believes most have not been made aware of the allegations against Haden. “Many don’t even know how they were sexually exploited.”

In 2016, Haden agreed to plead guilty to two state charges third degree criminal sexual act and forcible touching.

Hadden is awaiting trial on separate federal charges, filed in September 2020, related to cases in which patients traveled interstate for their appointments with him. Prosecutors alleged in the 2020 indictment that Haden also assaulted “dozens of female patients, including many minors” between 1993 and 2012, but filed charges that only involved those who say they lived outside of New York when Haden was their doctor. Prosecutors said Hadden “induced” those victims to travel across state lines for their dates with him “with the intent of subjecting them to unlawful sexual abuse.”

The federal complaint accuses Hadden of licking and touching patients’ genitals and breasts “without a valid medical purpose.” One alleged victim was a minor who years earlier had given birth, according to federal prosecutors.

An attorney for Hadden did not respond to a request for comment.

He has denied all charges beyond the two to which he pleaded guilty in 2016, a deal that included no prison time and a downgrading of his sex offender status to the lowest level — meaning he is not on the online sex offender registry of New York State.

The allegations against Hadden received renewed attention in 2020 after Evelyn Yang, whose husband Andrew Yang sought the Democratic nomination for president. he said in an interview with CNN that Haden had assaulted her.

Hadden’s former patient Marissa Hoechstetter was among the leaders of a campaign to pass New York state’s Adult Survivors Act, which starting Nov. 24 would give people a year to file lawsuits over certain sexual abuse claims. which was previously beyond the law’s limitations.

He said he commended “these brave survivors for their fight for justice.”

“There are still countless other survivors of Hadden who have yet to be informed and others who continue to seek justice,” said Hoechstetter, who said New York’s Adult Survivors Act “provides an avenue for those survivors who were abused when was over 18 years old. – regardless of the statute of limitations”.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office said in September 2020 that it was continuing criminal investigation in Columbia University’s handling of incidents involving Haden. A spokesman for District Attorney Alvin Bragg confirmed Friday that the investigation is ongoing.

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