In a long-awaited legal conclusion, Dr. Robert A. Hadden, a former Manhattan gynecologist, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison on Tuesday for s*xually assaulting four patients.
The sentencing followed two days of hearings, and Judge Richard M. Berman ordered Mr. Hadden to serve the maximum statutory sentence concurrently for each of the four charges he was convicted of in January. Upon his release, he will be subject to a lifetime of supervised release.
The federal charges were brought in the Southern District of New York and stemmed from assaults against patients who traveled from New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania for gynecological and obstetrics appointments. Prosecutors have asserted that Mr. Hadden’s abusive behavior dates back to the early 1990s when he is suspected to have abused numerous patients during medical exams.
During the hearings, the court was packed with victims, their families, and supporters. Emotions ran high as Judge Berman delivered the sentence, and many hugged in relief and solidarity following the sentencing.
A Lengthy Legal Battle
Dr. Hadden’s legal saga began in 2012 when he was first arrested after patient-reported s*xual misconduct during an examination.
However, a plea deal was struck in 2013, under the then-Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., where Mr. Hadden pleaded guilty to a single felony count of a criminal s*xual act in the third degree and one misdemeanor count of forcible touching. As a result, he avoided prison time and relinquished his medical license.
The tweet below verifies the news:
BREAKING: A former Columbia University gynecologist was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually abusing patients. https://t.co/NlnDKWN8pw
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 24, 2023
This decision garnered criticism for the handling of s*xual assault cases and the statute of limitations for prosecuting such crimes. The Manhattan district attorney’s office launched a new investigation in 2019 after new abuse allegations emerged, but it was determined that the statute of limitations had expired, leaving federal charges as the only recourse.
Victims Find Closure and Justice
Throughout the legal process, courageous victims came forward to share their stories, leading to a federal indictment in September 2020. During the sentencing hearing, several women spoke about the lasting impact of the assaults on their lives and pleaded for justice to be served.
Marissa Hoechstetter, one of Mr. Hadden’s former patients and a victim, expressed her relief at the sentence but stated that it did not change what had happened to them. Mr. Hadden’s former employers, Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital have also faced lawsuits from his victims and have reached settlements totaling about $236 million with 226 former patients.
A Voice for Victims
The sentencing of Dr. Robert A. Hadden represents a significant milestone for the victims who bravely came forward and fought for justice. The case has sparked conversations about the need for better protection of patients and greater accountability within the medical profession.
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