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Robert Hadden (Former Dr.) Sexual Assault Lawsuit

For decades, the former Dr. Robert Hadden sexually assaulted hundreds, if not thousands, of women while working at the prestigious Columbia University Hospital. There was a short window of opportunity to seek financial compensation for the harm he caused. The legal deadline was November 24, 2023. 

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November 9, 2023
New York, NY
Herman Law has filed a Group Action Lawsuit on behalf of 159 survivors of convicted sexual abuser Robert Hadden against NY Presbyterian Hospital. Read the full press release and access the complaint here. Listen to some of the survivors tell their stories during the press conference below.

Down the sterile hallways of hospitals and health care facilities throughout the country, sexual abuse is unnervingly common. Behind closed doors, patients have suffered in silence for decades at the hands of sexual predators working as doctors. This kind of abuse often occurs with the full knowledge of their employing institutions. In many cases, employers attempt to shield themselves from liability by covering up this kind of criminal behavior.

The case of the former Dr. Robert Hadden is particularly horrifying. In the history of New York, never has a more prolific sexual predator been unmasked—in or out of the medical profession. Hadden was an obstetrician-gynecologist (OBGYN) who used his position of power to gain access to his victims, most of whom were pregnant, postpartum, or underage. Hadden’s victims had until November 24, 2023, to file a lawsuit against Columbia University.

So far, reported cases of his sexual abuse occurred between 1993 and 2012. As early as 1994, his criminal behavior was brought to the attention of his former employer, the prestigious NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City. The Medical Center failed to take action and even engaged in a coverup. In other words, it aided and abetted his sexual abuse.

Photo by: Associated Press

Cases Brought Against Robert Hadden

Over a decade ago, 245 survivors came forward to denounce the former Dr. Hadden’s shocking criminal behavior. Since then, 301 other survivors filed a lawsuit against Columbia University on October 3, 2023. They allege that Hadden used his powerful position to gain their trust and place them in a position of vulnerability. Under the guise of “medical care,” they accuse the former Dr. Hadden of committing the following acts against them:

  • Sexual grooming
  • Exploitation
  • Abuse
  • Rape
  • Molestation
  • Fondling
  • Anal penetration
  • Physical, verbal, and sexual assault and battery

The evidence shows that this conduct occurred from 1993 to 2012 with the full knowledge of Columbia University Irving Medical Center, where he was employed. Instead of upholding its duty to protect its patients, Columbia chose to protect its reputation by orchestrating a coverup, which included silencing employees, ignoring reports from victims, and refusing to turn over evidence.

Even after his arrest in 2012, Columbia University allowed Hadden to continue providing gynecological and obstetrical exams to patients. The coverup continues to this day, as Columbia has not notified thousands of patients of Hadden’s prosecution and the real reasons for his departure.

The case was first brought to public attention in June 2013 when two women filed lawsuits against Hadden in Manhattan. They alleged that the former gynecologist sexually assaulted them during their medical examinations.

One plaintiff, Laurie Kanyok, filed a police report against Hadden in June 2012. The police briefly detained Hadden, but criminal charges were not pressed.

Fortunately, her story was obscurely printed in a New York newspaper. When other victims of the former Dr. Hadden saw the story, they also came forward to denounce him as a serial sexual predator. Ultimately, this led to his indictment in 2014 and conviction in 2016. He pled guilty to a third-degree criminal sex act and forcible touching.

During the investigation, Columbia University failed to turn over subpoenaed documents and inform the district attorney as more victims came forward. Because the district attorney lacked important information needed to strengthen the state’s prosecution, Hadden evaded jail time in exchange for surrendering his medical license and being listed in the state sex offender registry.

However, a federal indictment claims that Hadden sexually assaulted countless female patients over more than 20 years. Though these assaults are thought to have occurred between 1993 and 2012, unknown assaults may have happened before 1993.

Columbia University recently reached a $165 million agreement with 147 of Hadden’s victims. This agreement aligns with another settlement from 2021, which distributed $71.5 million among 79 of his other victims.

Finally, on July 24, 2023, Robert Hadden was sentenced to 20 years in prison for enticing and inducing four victims to travel interstate to be sexually abused. Robert Hadden received the maximum sentence for each of the four counts against him. He will serve these sentences concurrently, followed by a lifetime of supervised release.

How Columbia University Aided and Abetted a Sexual Predator

The evidence shows that Columbia University knew by 1994 that the former Dr. Hadden was sexually assaulting patients and that it had multiple opportunities to stop his abuse. Instead, it allowed Hadden to continue his medical practice completely unsupervised. If not for Columbia University’s failure to take appropriate action, hundreds, if not thousands, of women could have been spared the trauma of sexual assault.

The Monson Letter

In 1994, 37-year-old Dian Saderup Monson sent a letter to Columbia University’s risk management department and the head of the OBGYN department to inform them that she had been assaulted by Hadden as a patient. She received a prompt response from the OBGYN department, which thanked her for expressing her concern and promised to follow up. She never heard back.

There is no evidence that Columbia University investigated any of Dian Monson’s claims. This pattern of ignoring complaints seems to have been normalized. In 2012, Laurie Kanyok reported her own abuse at the hands of the former Dr. Hadden. The so-called investigation that followed failed to include even an interview of the victim. Still, Laurie’s allegations led to Hadden’s first arrest.

Lack of Safeguards

Columbia University had no written policies or procedures for handling complaints by patients. Further, Columbia claims that it circulated a memo in 2007 requiring chaperones during gynecological exams. Physicians at Columbia told prosecutors that they never saw this memo.

Silencing Medical Staff

According to Jennifer Tam, a former doctor and colleague of Hadden, it was considered taboo among medical staff to speak out about things that could harm Columbia University’s reputation. She explained how the fear of retaliation or other repercussions could have prevented people from speaking out.

Though many victims reported sexual abuse occurring during private examinations with the former Dr. Hadden, others reported abuse committed in the presence of nursing staff. For example:

  • Dian Monson reported that a nurse was in the room during her abuse by Hadden. The nurse seemed to look away intentionally as the abuse occurred.
  • A labor and delivery nurse testified in court that, in the early 90s, she observed Hadden touching women sexually during labor and delivery. She testified that she did not report it because she felt silenced by the rigid hierarchy between doctors and nurses.
  • Medical assistant Willie Terry testified in court that she walked in on Hadden sexually abusing a patient. Though alarmed, she did not report the incident because she thought administrators would have taken his word over hers.
  • Columbia obstetrician Kararina Eisinger referred a patient to the former Dr. Hadden. The patient told Dr. Eisinger that Hadden behaved inappropriately and made her feel uncomfortable. Waving her hand, Dr. Eisinger replied, “That’s just Dr. Hadden,” as if his behavior was common knowledge and accepted.
  • A Hispanic patient attempted to file a complaint in 2008 alleging that Hadden had sexually assaulted her during her 18-hour labor and delivery. The bilingual social worker took notes and provided her with information about postpartum depression, but there was no follow-up investigation.

Damage Control

Columbia University repeatedly prioritized its own reputation and interests over the well-being of patients who had been sexually assaulted by one of its own doctors. In doing so, Columbia seriously violated the law.

Violation of Mandatory Reporting Laws

Under New York law, healthcare providers must report clinical misconduct against vulnerable persons to law enforcement, including suspected cases of sexual abuse by physicians. Although other faculty, staff, and administrators were aware of Hadden’s misconduct, they did not uphold their duty to report.

Lack of Cooperation with Law Enforcement

After the former Dr. Hadden’s arrest, the district attorney subpoenaed records from Columbia University. Columbia’s lack of cooperation was so blatant that the district attorney launched a separate criminal investigation against the school.

Columbia also failed to instruct patients to contact law enforcement about their sexual abuse at the hands of Hadden—even after his arrest. Instead, staff were instructed to provide patients with the name and contact information of Patricia Catapano, Columbia’s lawyer.

Lack of Disclosure to Patients

Columbia University failed to inform Hadden’s former patients that his license was revoked and that he was convicted of felonies due to sexually assaulting multiple patients. The university instead sent a letter to patients stating that he had simply closed his practice. The letter also invited patients to choose from one of Hadden’s “excellent partners” for their continued care at Columbia facilities.

Columbia University has shown an unwavering interest in ensuring that Hadden’s former patients remained uninformed about his sex crime convictions. This is unacceptable. Transparency about the sexual assault of one victim often gives other victims the courage to come forward. 

Unsupervised Access to Patients

Columbia University enabled the former Dr. Hadden’s sexual abuse by allowing him to practice medicine at the facilities after receiving complaints from patients. A written letter from Columbia authorizing Hadden to continue his OBGYN services after his arrest simply stated that he must have a chaperone during gynecological exams.

This was evidently unenforced or insufficient to protect patients from further abuse. At least eight patients reported further abuse after the letter. Astonishingly, one victim was abused on Hadden’s first day back to work and just four days after his initial arrest.

If you are a victim of Dr. Hadden, contact the New York sex abuse attorneys at Herman Law, as you may be eligible for substantial compensation.


Robert Hadden is a former gynecologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center charged with sexually abusing patients from as early as 1993 until he lost his license in 2012.

In January of 2023, Robert Hadden was sentenced to 20 years in prison for enticing and inducing four victims to travel interstate to engage in unlawful sexual activity. He will also pay a $10,000 fine and is subject to lifetime supervised release after his prison sentence is complete. In a previous prosecution by the state of New York, Hadden avoided jail time by accepting a plea bargain.

This isn’t surprising considering the power and prestige of Columbia University, his former employer. With a $13 billion endowment, it is one of New York City’s largest private landowners and one of the most powerful institutions in the country. Ultimately, however, none of this was enough to prevent federal authorities from prosecuting Robert Hadden and putting him behind bars.

The former Dr. Robert Hadden worked at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, a prestigious medical institution located in Manhattan, New York. The institution has since condemned his behavior and negotiated settlements with some of his former patients. Notwithstanding, the Medical Center and its parent institutions are facing lawsuits for orchestrating a decades-long coverup of Hadden’s criminal behavior against his patients.

Columbia University offered a public apology to victims in September 2023. Because the letter fails to admit to any wrongdoing while the University aggressively fights against liability in civil court, the apology has not been well-received by victims. The overriding sentiment? “Too little, too late.”

The victims abused by the former Dr. Hadden have all disclosed similar experiences. According to their statements, Hadden was an expert groomer who would immediately make them feel comfortable with his soft-spoken manner. He then exploited their vulnerability and his empowered position as a doctor at a prestigious university hospital.

The survivors report that the former Dr. Robert Hadden started by gaining their trust. This led to strings of inappropriate questions, including questions about their preferred sexual positions and behavior. He then performed unnecessary and inappropriate physical examinations. Among other things, he sexually assaulted patients by:

  • Requiring them to undress for unconventional “mole checks” or “scoliosis checks”;
  • Performing examinations with ungloved hands;
  • Performing excessively long and painful breast and pelvic examinations;
  • Sexually touching them during pelvic, anal, or breast examinations;
  • Sexually touching patients’ genitals with his tongue and mouth during “examinations”.

These assaults were often perpetrated when his patients were most vulnerable, including during adolescence, pregnancy, and labor/delivery.

Passage of the New York Adult Survivors Act

The New York Adult Survivors Act created a one-year window for survivors of sexual violence to file lawsuits against their abusers. Victims of sexual abuse had only a limited amount of time to file legal action against their abuser before the statute of limitations ran out. The Adult Survivors Act granted survivors a one-year window to file legal claims, regardless of an expired statute of limitations.

Advocates of the Adult Survivors Act said that victims need time to process their sexual assault, fear, and trauma. Many victims fail to report sexual violence or even sexual harassment for fear of retaliation or social repercussions. Some may not even realize an incident qualifies as sexual assault until years later.

In 2019, the New York Legislature separately extended the statute of limitations for lawsuits pertaining to sex crimes. Though the change does not apply retroactively to earlier cases where the statute of limitation has already expired, the one-year window created by the Adult Survivors Act was designed to give survivors an opportunity to seek justice and accountability from their abusers.

The Adult Survivors Act and DR. Hadden Lawsuits

If Hadden sexually assaulted you, but the statute of limitations previously time-barred you from pressing charges, the Adult Survivors Act offered an opportunity. However, you may still have time to join the scores of women who have spoken out against Hadden’s egregious sexual misconduct and sexual assault against his patients.

If you are a former gynecological patient of Hadden and he exhibited sexual misconduct during your examinations, you may be eligible to receive significant compensation for your traumatic experience. Our team of professional sexual assault attorneys is well-versed in claims against hospitals and healthcare providers, including claims against the former Dr. Hadden. We can help you with your legal claim.

Timeline of Robert Hadden Lawsuits



Hadden was licensed to practice medicine in New York. Shortly after his licensing, he began practicing gynecology at Columbia University and affiliated hospitals.



Hadden’s sexual abuses are thought to have occurred during this window, although some cases may have arisen earlier.



Police arrested Hadden in June 2012 after a former patient told police that he sexually assaulted her during a gynecological exam. Instead of suspending him, Columbia University hand-delivered a letter to the former Dr. Hadden authorizing him to continue practicing medicine. Columbia also quickly hired an attorney to represent him.

He practiced medicine for five weeks after his initial arrest and release. Eight women have since come forward stating they were abused during this period. There may be more.

Five weeks after the arrest, Columbia University suspended Hadden after he failed to cooperate with an internal investigation.

In September 2012, Hadden took a leave of absence. Columbia simply chose not to renew his appointment at the end of the year, commencing his early retirement. He was, however, allowed to keep his university email address.



Columbia University waited for several months before notifying patients that the former Dr. Hadden was no longer practicing medicine. They did not tell patients about his sexual misconduct or arrest.



Hadden was indicted on a charge of alleged criminal sex acts.



Hadden pled guilty to a third-degree criminal sex act and forcible touching. He entered a plea bargain with prosecutors that forced him to surrender his medical license in exchange for no prison time. According to the prosecutor, cooperation by Columbia might have resulted in a stronger case against the former Dr. Hadden, which may have made the plea bargain unnecessary. A deputy prosecutor has stated clearly that Columbia “didn’t have clean hands.”

On February 23, 2016, Robert Hadden surrendered his medical license.



Hadden was indicted on six counts of enticing and inducing victims to travel interstate to his offices in New York with the intent to abuse them sexually. The victims included five adults and one minor.

In July, Hadden pled not guilty.



NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center reached a $71.5 million settlement with 79 of Hadden’s former patients.



In May, New York’s Adult Survivors Act was signed into law.

In October, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center reached a $165 million agreement with 147 of Hadden’s former patients.

On November 24, the Adult Survivors Act’s one-year look-back window opened to pursue civil action against those who committed a sexual offense.



The federal case against Hadden went to trial in early January.

On January 24, 2023, Robert Hadden was convicted of enticing and inducing individuals to travel interstate to engage in illegal sexual activity.

On July 24, 2023, Robert Hadden was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He is subject to lifetime supervised release after his sentence is served.

On October 3, 2023, 301 more victims filed a lawsuit under the Adult Survivors Act.

On November 24, 2023, the Adult Survivors Act’s look-back window closed.

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If you were one of Dr. Hadden’s patients between the early 1990s and 2012 and any sexual conduct or innuendo occurred during an office visit that made you feel uncomfortable, you may have a viable sexual assault case.

Our knowledgeable and compassionate sexual abuse lawyers in New York are standing by to make sure you know your full legal rights and options.