Hundreds of women say they were victims of the Columbia doctor

This week, a new civil lawsuit was filed by 301 anonymous women against Columbia University, its medical institutions and Dr. Robert Hadden, a gynecologist convicted of sexually abusing his patients.

The lawsuit alleges that Hadden's crimes were “authorized, covered up, and actively concealed by the co-defendants.”

It was filed under the Adult Survivors Act, which is similar to the Child Victims Act, which gives victims a year to bring claims that would otherwise be barred by a statute of limitations.


What you need to know

  • A civil suit against 301 women was filed against Dr. Robert Hadden, a gynecologist convicted of sexually abusing patients, as well as against Columbia University and its medical institution
  • The charges were filed under the Adult Survivors Act, which created a one-year window for victims of sexual assault to file charges
  • The window for filing these lawsuits closes on November 23
  • State Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal said Albany should consider expanding it

“This is by far the largest case filed in New York State under the Adult Survivors Act,” said Anthony T. DiPietro, the attorney for the plaintiffs.

“Every time there's a news story about these cases, more people come forward and say, 'Hey, I've been exposed to this predator too,'” DiPietro added.

That's why DiPietro and advocates like Evelyn Yang, a Hadden victim who pushed for the law, are demanding that Columbia University inform all of Hadden's patients about his crimes.

“Today we urge the government to notify all Hadden patients so that anyone exposed has the opportunity to examine her own experiences and her own medical records to see if she has been affected.” , Yang said.

Yang, the wife of former mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, and other survivors paid for truck billboards to raise awareness of the message as medical students protested the inauguration of Columbia's new president, Minouche Shafik.

Hadden was sentenced to 20 years in prison earlier this year.

Columbia and the medical institutions where he worked previously settled a case on behalf of more than two hundred additional women.

“We mentioned 500 survivors. We think this just scratches the surface of his victims because he has practiced for more than 20 years,” Yang said.

Columbia University Irving Medical Center said in a statement that the facility deeply sympathizes with the pain Hadden's patients have suffered.

“Hadden's prosecution that led to his conviction for federal crimes showed how he deliberately sought to circumvent our oversight and create situations to abuse his patients,” the statement said.

By not notifying patients directly, Yang feels Columbia is trying to pass the time — the one-year window for lawsuits closes on Nov. 23.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal, who sponsored the legislation, said Albany should consider expanding it.

“There are examples across the state of people who are only now literally finding out that they have been abused, given that some of them were under anesthesia and didn't know. the Adult Survivors Act further, to ensure that all survivors of sexual abuse have their day in court,” said Hoylman-Sigal.

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