February 5, 2023

A hammer
Depiction. A judge’s gavel.
sergeitokmakov/Pixabay

IMPORTANT POINTS

  • A prosecutor called the evidence against the former gynecologist “devastating” and “damning”.
  • Robert Hadden relinquished his medical license but did not serve time in prison
  • Hadden has remained at large on $1 million bail since his arrest in 2020

A prosecutor on Monday asked a New York jury to convict a former Columbia University gynecologist of federal sex trafficking after decades of sexually abusing patients.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Kim described the evidence against 64-year-old former gynecologist Robert Hadden as “devastating” and “damning” as she related the testimonies of nine victims and two nurses who worked with Hadden during his career in the late 1980s by 2012, Fox News reported.

She said Hadden, of Englewood, New Jersey, tried to hide “behind his white coat” and Columbia University prestige as he recruited at-risk patients before sexually abusing them.

“He put on his white coat and took the oath that all doctors take to ‘do no harm,’ and then he did the exact opposite,” Kim told the Manhattan federal court jury.

“The defendant had a plan, a strategy,” she added. “It wasn’t a spontaneous thing.”

Hadden would question patients about their sex lives and during some women’s visits would conduct lengthy breast exams, which prosecutors said should last only 30 seconds to a minute. He “hid behind the guise of pelvic exams … to keep pushing the limits and see how far he could go,” Kim said.

Defense attorney Kathryn Wozencroft acknowledged that the “harm” some of Hadden’s patients suffered at his hands is “real” and insisted that “we are not questioning what happened in the exam rooms.”

However, she explained that Hadden’s guilty plea in New York state court seven years ago applied to all of those reported abuses. The attorney insisted it would be wrong to convict the doctor on the new charge of the same crimes.

After pleading guilty, Hadden relinquished his medical license but did not serve time in prison.

According to Wozencroft, the sex trafficking charges presuppose that the doctor knew the four patients to whom the charges relate were crossing state lines and that he had tricked them into doing so because he intended to sexually abuse them.

Hadden’s attorneys said during the trial that the doctor didn’t know where his clients traveled from or his schedule of daily appointments.

The indictment against Hadden states that the doctor sexually abused patients for decades while working at two Manhattan hospitals, Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. The institutions agreed to pay more than $236 million to settle civil claims from more than 200 former patients.

Hadden has remained at large on $1 million bail since his arrest in 2020.

A former patient testified that Hadden suddenly thrust his fingers into her in 2008 while she was pregnant, ABC News reported. She described it as painful and felt like a lifetime.

“He said he was trying to feel the baby’s head,” she said, adding that he performed oral sex on her.

A hammer
Depiction. A gavel in court.
VBlock/Pixabay

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