'Predator in a white coat:' Feds arrest former Columbia OB-GYN on suspicion of long-running sexual abuse of patients

An indictment unsealed Sept. 9 alleges Robert Hadden, MD, sexually abused dozens of OB-GYN patients, including minors, over a span of 19 years in his New York medical office and affiliated hospital.  

Federal officials arrested Dr. Hadden at his home in Englewood, N.J., Sept. 9 and charged him with six counts of enticing and inducing individuals to travel interstate to engage in illegal sexual activity. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. 

The unsealed indictment alleges that Dr. Hadden, 62, sexually abused dozens of women and girls from 1993 through 2012 at his Columbia University medical practice and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan by using examinations as a cover to engage in sexual abuse that he masked as legitimate medical care. Officials noted that Dr. Hadden would either send nurses and medical assistants out of exam rooms and/or intentionally not tell them when he was going into exam rooms so he could be alone with his victims. 

"The allegations show that Hadden acted as a predator in a white coat," Audrey Strauss, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement. "He allegedly used the cover of conducting medical examinations to engage in sexual abuse that he passed off as normal and medically necessary, when it was neither normal nor necessary — it was criminal." 

Columbia University shared the following statement with Becker's: "Nothing is more important to Columbia than the safety of our patients, and we condemn sexual misconduct in any form. We commend the women who have spoken out against Robert Hadden and will cooperate fully with the U.S. Attorney's Office."

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital shared the following statement: "The trust that patients place in their physicians is sacred. Robert Hadden's abhorrent actions violated that sacred trust and damaged women's lives. We will continue to condemn his horrific conduct and provide our full cooperation to law enforcement as it works to ensure that justice is served."

This is not the first time Dr. Hadden has faced charges. He was indicted by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office in 2014 on charges involving the six women, including five counts of a criminal sexual act, two counts of forcible touching and two counts of sexual abuse. A year and a half later, the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. reached a plea deal that allowed Dr. Hadden to avoid jail time and sought the lowest sex offender status for the doctor, which a judge granted, according to The New York Times. Dr. Hadden surrendered his medical license, and Mr. Vance's office promised not to pursue any new sexual abuse allegations. 

The charges brought this week are separate and relate to Dr. Hadden's alleged enticement and coercion of six particular victims, including a minor, to travel to New York from or through another state to engage in illegal sexual activity.

Dr. Hadden pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday evening, according to The New York Times. He was released on $1 million bond into home detention with GPS monitoring.

The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman in the Southern District of New York.

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