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- Former gynecologist Robert Hadden pleaded guilty to criminal sex act in the third degree and forcible touching in cases involving two women in 2016.
- Seventeen additional women came forward with sex abuse claims against Hadden on Tuesday, adding to the 18 women who already had made accusations against the former doctor.
- Hadden was required to register as a sex offender and surrender his medical license, but served no jail time following his guilty plea.
- Now women say staff at hospitals and clinics affiliated with Columbia University were aware of Hadden’s alleged abuse for decades.
On Tuesday, 17 women came forward with claims that they were sexually abused by a Manhattan gynecologist who was convicted of violating patients two years ago .
The women, all but one of whom remained anonymous, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against hospitals and clinics affiliated with Columbia University, claiming staff were aware of former doctor Robert Hadden’s alleged abuse for decades before he was charged in 2014.
In 2016, Hadden pleaded guilty to criminal sex act in the third degree and forcible touching in cases involving two victims.
At the time, 18 women had accused him of sexual abuse during exams, though most of them fell out of the criminal statute of limitations.
Following his guilty plea, Hadden had to register as a sex offender and surrender his medical license, but he was not sentenced to any jail time.
In Tuesday’s lawsuit filed in the state Supreme Court in Manhattan, the 17 women involved brought new allegations against Hadden forward.
They have asked for an unspecified amount of damages and for Hadden’s name to be removed from their children’s birth certificates, according to the lawsuit seen by INSIDER.
All of the women were patients at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and other Columbia-affiliated clinics where Hadden worked.
Two decades of abuse allegations
Women alleged that nurses, administrators and doctors had been aware of Hadden’s alleged abuse dating back to the 1990s, and that Columbia didn’t take action to protect patient.
The new lawsuit claims that medical assistants and chaperones who worked with Hadden called him a “shark,” because he “knew how to outmaneuver chaperones, making quick hits at sexually abusing female patients, and would then keep going.”
The lawsuit claims that in as early as 1992 or 1993, a nurse had walked in on Hadden sexually abusing a patient.
“However, when the nurse reported to her supervisor what Robert Hadden was doing, the supervisor’s response was for her to just ‘keep quiet,’ ‘stay with your doctor,’ and ‘don’t let him get himself in trouble,'” the lawsuit states.
Over the next two decades, Hadden allegedly exploited and abused countless other female patients, according to Anthony DiPietro, a lawyer for the women in Tuesday’s lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, the alleged abuse included grooming, sexually exploiting, fondling, ogling, penetrating and groping Plaintiffs’ bodies and genitalia for no medical purpose, as well as forcing patients to strip naked, digitally penetrate them, and making inappropriate remarks.
Women want Hadden’s name off their children’s birth certificates
The one woman named in the suit, Marissa Hoechstetter, said she is reminded of Hadden’s alleged abuse every time she looks at her twins’ birth certificates and has asked that his name be taken off.
She claimed Hadden gave her inappropriate vaginal exams – once using his tongue during a postpartum visit – and told her she looked “like a porn star.”
She claimed that a medical chaperone was in the room when Hadden abused her verbally and physical but did nothing to prevent his actions.
DiPietro called the accusations against Hadden an “epidemic of sexual exploitation and abuse.”
“Hadden’s conduct was typical of this kind of predator. He groomed patients and kept them off balance by making inappropriate comments about their bodies, sexual activities and partners,” he said in a statement. “While peppering them with medically irrelevant questions, Hadden would find reasons to perform prolonged, medically unnecessary breast and vaginal examinations for the purpose of sexually exploiting and abusing them.”
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