A prosecutor urged a New York jury on Monday to find a doctor guilty of federal sex trafficking charges, claiming that for decades, the doctor abused patients while hiding behind his white coat and the status of Columbia University.
In response, his defense attorney argued that since he had previously received punishment for these acts, the acquittal was warranted.
Assisting U.S. Attorney Jane Kim recounted testimony from nine victims and two nurses who worked with former gynecologist Robert Hadden, 64, during a career that spanned from the late 1980s until 2012. She called the evidence against Hadden “devastating” and “damning,” calling it “damning” and “devastating.”
Kim told the Manhattan federal court jury, “He donned his white coat and took the pledge that doctors do to ‘not harm,’ and then he did the exact opposite.”
She claimed that to gain the trust of his weak patients before sexually abusing them, he tried to “hide behind his white coat” and the stature of Columbia University.
Kim added, “The defendant had a plan, a strategy. This was not an impulsive decision. She claimed that he would question patients about t
heir sexual life and perform protracted breast exams that, for some women, should only take 30 to 60 seconds each time.
He thereafter “hid behind the cover of gynecological checkups” to continue pushing the boundaries and see how far he could go, according to her.
Hadden’s defense lawyer Kathryn Wozencroft concurred that the treatment some of his patients received from him was “disgusting and awful” and that these actions justified a doctor losing his medical license.
She continued, “We’re not contesting what happened in the exam rooms,” adding that “the injury they endured is real.”
She argued, however, that he pleaded guilty to all of these allegations in a New York state court case seven years prior, and it would be unfair to find him guilty of the new accusations based on the same offenses.
Hadden, of Englewood, New Jersey, was spared any jail time after entering that plea and relinquished his medical license.
According to Wozencroft, Hadden must have known that the four patients who are the subject of the sex trafficking accusations were crossing state boundaries, and he must have encouraged them to do so to sexually abuse them.
Throughout the two-week trial, the defense has argued that Hadden was unaware of the origins of his clients’ trips or the schedule of his daily appointments.
Hadden was charged with sexually abusing patients between 1993 and at least 2012 when he worked at two famous Manhattan hospitals, Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, according to the accusation against him.
To resolve civil lawsuits brought by more than 200 former patients, the institutions have already agreed to pay more than $236 million.
Evelyn Yang, whose husband Andrew Yang unsuccessfully ran as a Democrat for president in 2020 and mayor of New York City in 2022, was one of the former patients who spoke out in public.
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She claimed that eight years earlier, even while she was seven months pregnant, Hadden had sexually abused her.
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She had referred to the state court penalty as a “slap on the wrist.”
Except for Yang and other victims who have chosen to tell their stories publicly, the Associated Press typically withholds the identities of sexual assault victims from stories.
Since his arrest in 2020, Hadden has been free on a $1 million bail.
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