Two New York hospitals affiliated with Columbia University have agreed to pay more than $165 million to 147 former patients who have accused a former gynecologist of sexual abuse and misconduct.
Robert Hadden, who has reportedly not worked as a doctor since 2021, surrendered his medical license after being convicted in 2016 on sex-related charges in state court – but was not sentenced to prison.
Among Hadden’s accusers was Evelyn Yang, the wife of the former presidential and New York City mayoral candidate, Andrew Yang.
She went public in 2020 with allegations that Hadden abused her when she was his patient and while she was pregnant in 2012.
Former Broadway dancer Laurie Kanyok was also among the accusers who brought a civil suit against trustees of Columbia University and its affiliated College of Physicians and Surgeons and New York Presbyterian Hospital.
Hadden currently awaits trial on separate federal charges of sexually abusing dozens of young and unsuspecting female patients for over two decades.
Columbia University has agreed to pay more than $165 million to 147 former patients who have accused a former gynecologist Robert Hadden (pictured) of sexual abuse and misconduct
Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian announced the settlement agreement on Friday, allegedly failed to stop the ‘predator in a white coat’
Hadden currently awaits trial on federal charges of sexually abusing dozens of young and unsuspecting female patients
Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian announced the settlement agreement on Friday.
Last year, the two hospitals reached a settlement to establish a $71 million compensation fund with 79 of Hadden’s former patients.
‘We deeply regret the pain that Robert Hadden’s patients suffered and hope that these resolutions will provide some measure of support for the women he hurt,’ Columbia University Irving Medical Center said in the release.
Hadden, an Englewood, New Jersey, resident pleaded not guilty to six counts of inducing others to travel to engage in illegal sex acts.
Prosecutors have described Hadden as a ‘predator in a white coat,’ accusing him of singling out young and unsuspecting victims, including a young girl he had delivered at birth.
Dozens of victims alleged that hospital personnel were not only aware of Hadden’s ‘sexual exploitation and abuse’ being perpetrated by the doctor as far back as the 90s, they ‘actively, deliberately and inexplicably’ concealed it.
In fact, they claim Hadden’s reputation was so egregious that he was known among medical assistants as ‘a shark’ for his ability to outmaneuver chaperones to make ‘quick hits at sexually abusing patients’ and keep going.
Kanyok, in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, spoke out against the institution that, she says, protected her abuser for decades.
Former Broadway dancer Laurie Kanyok said Hadden subjected her to an internal exam so forceful that he lifted her off the chair while she ‘gripped the arms’ and caused her to bleed
Evelyn Yang, the wife of former presidential candidate Andrew, said she was also a victim of Hadden’s and shared her story publicly
Her story began when she chose Hadden, 64, as her doctor when she became pregnant in 2011. On first meeting, she recalled, the, ‘mild-mannered and prominent physician . . .inspired trust.’
Today, it is impossible for Kanyok to look back on those pre-natal exams without seeing the abuse she was being subjected.
On one occasion, under the guise of checking the dilation of her cervix, Hadden subjected her to an internal exam so forceful that he lifted her off the exam chair while she ‘gripped the arms’ and caused her to bleed afterward.
But with no prior experience Kanyok, suppressed any misgivings and trusted her doctor.
She said, ‘You know as your stomach grows the only thing that matters is you want to hear the heartbeat.’
Kanyok is thankful that Hadden was not on call when she went into labor.
Instead, she was attended by a team of women and, for the first time, realized that what she had come to accept as ‘normal’ was anything but.
She said, ‘When I was close to delivering the gal came into check my dilation and it was as if nothing was going on. And I was sort of like, ‘Okay, that was different.’
Still, she might have let it go were it not for what happened six weeks later at a post-partum consultation.
She recalled, ‘[At first] he did the whole exam with a nurse in the room. He started to comment on my weight and how much I’d lost and how good I looked.’
According to Kanyok, the comments felt ‘off’ and out of place, but she let it slide.
But then, after the exam was finished and the nurse had left the room, Hadden said he wanted to check something else and asked Kanyok, who was naked, to lie down once more.
She said, ‘I said, ”You didn’t just do a full exam?” And he said, ”No, just lay back down let me just check one more time.”
‘So, I lay back down and put my feet in the stirrups, and he pulls the sheet taut and all of a sudden, his head ducked down, and he licked my vagina and I jumped off the table and he was white as a ghost.’
She texted her partner and her best friend, telling both what happened. The father of her child told her to call the police immediately.
Former Broadway dancer Laurie Kanyok tells DailyMail.com of the abuse she suffered at the hands of gynecologist Dr. Robert Hadden
She said, ‘I tried to leave. I got dressed and walked out. I didn’t go to his office, I didn’t stop at admin. It was a big, long hallway and [just as I was leaving] he’s coming after me calling, ”Laurie, you forgot to come get your [birth control] prescription. Come back.” ‘
Scared, she followed him back to his office where he flipped his prescription pad back and forth nervously apparently trying to gauge and manage her reaction to what had happened.
He insisted on walking her out, rubbing her back and making small talk as he did.
Kanyok called the police from her Uber on her way home. By the time she got there, Hadden had left a lengthy and agitated voicemail on her cell.
She said, ‘He said, ”I understand something happened, that you’re not happy with your visit.” And he’s saying, ”Why don’t you come back in, and we’ll talk about it face to face.” And then the call got progressively more agitated and at the end he was sort of manic and frantic and said, ”You know I’m really, really upset too.” And he hung up the phone.’
Hadden is pictured outside his New Jersey home in 2019
Hadden’s home in New Jersey is pictured after being served with a lawsuit filed by 25 women
Kanyok played the voicemail to detectives who headed to the hospital to arrest him.
Meanwhile, new mother went through the invasive process of undergoing a rape kit. The sample taken from Kanyok was a 98-99% match for Hadden’s saliva.
Yet a few months later, Kanyok received a phone call from the Assistant District Attorney saying that the criminal case against Hadden was being dropped for lack of evidence.
Kanyok filed a civil suit and the decision led to the DA’s office re-opening the criminal case.
She explained, ‘My attorneys did a little blurb in the newspaper and women started coming forward with corroborating stories.’
Eleven women came forward and Kanyok testified before a Grand Jury. She said, ‘It was vindicating but at the same time it was scary because now this is a serial predator.’
Hadden was charged with nine counts of sexual misconduct and assault. But, in 2016, he took a sweetheart plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to Kanyok’s counts and was allowed to surrender his medical license and walk free.
Kanyok settled her civil case in 2017. She said, ‘I remember pacing round this boardroom [during mediation] and smacking my fists on the chair and saying, ‘It’s MeToo’ but nobody wanted to acknowledge it. ‘Take the money, Laurie, and go raise your daughter,’ is what I was told.’
And for a while that is what Kanyok tried to do. But the trauma never left her nor the sense of injustice at the way Hadden had walked free, and Columbia never held accountable.
She said, ‘This is a gynecologist, this is your most vulnerable state as a female. How does an institution allow this? That messes with your psyche.
‘There is no dollar amount, there is no time. There is no fix to that. I didn’t feel anything except what’s wrong with the system that lets this person be free?’
‘I’m tough. I can handle a lot but [this trauma] is the suit you can’t get off. You can never get rid of it. You can be happy. I can go on a holiday. I can have a birthday party. I could do a lot of things. But at the end of the day, it’s there. And I was supposed to have won? What did I win? All I could think was I signed this piece of paper and I accepted money, for what?’
Then, in 2020, Kanyok was watching television when she saw Andrew Yang’s wife, Evelyn, share her story of abuse at Hadden’s hands.
Yang was speaking publicly as the disgraced doctor was indicted on federal charges relating to 16 women and including six counts of inducing others to travel to engage in illegal sexual acts. He was released on a $1million bond and is currently awaiting trial.
In 2020, Kanyok was watching television when she saw Andrew Yang’s wife, Evelyn, share her story of abuse. As she watched Yang speak, Kanyok realized that the democratic candidate’s wife had been assaulted after she herself had reported the doctor to police
Announcing the indictment Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District Of New York, described Hadden as, ‘a predator in a white coat [who] used the cover of conducting medical examinations to engage in sexual abuse.’
For Kanyok, news of the arrest was bittersweet. Because, as she watched Yang speak, Kanyok realized that the democratic candidate’s wife had been assaulted after she herself had reported the doctor to police.
Suddenly, Kanyok saw the bigger picture. She had thought she was the last of his victims but now she realized that he had been allowed to step back into his role. Both she and Yang were victims of a cycle of abuse that could – and should – have been stopped.
She said, ‘Evelyn Yang was assaulted after me…I couldn’t let that go. Then I found out there was a woman who had written a letter in 1993 to the hospital and they responded saying, ‘We’ll get to the bottom of this.’ And that was it. They dropped it.
‘Essentially it should have never happened to me because she made them aware. It should have never happened to Evelyn because I called the police and I made them aware but they [Columbia] were still allowing this behavior.’
She said, ‘That’s why I came back out. I shouldn’t be sitting here; I shouldn’t be telling my story. I shouldn’t have to be facing the prospect of telling the story to my daughter when she’s of an age and has to go to the gynecologist or, God forbid, does a random Google search on her mom and finds out like that. I have to face telling my daughter because they didn’t listen to a letter from a patient in 1993. That’s deplorable.’