Seventeen Women Sued Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian For Allowing Doctor to Sexually Abuse Them
In December 2018, seventeen women filed a lawsuit against Columbia University and the New York-Presbyterian hospital system for allowing a sexually abusive doctor to continue practicing for over 20 years. According to CNN.com, the case filed in New York Supreme Court also names the doctor, Robert Hadden, as a defendant. Hadden was indicted in 2014 on criminal charges involving six women. The charges included sexual abuse, criminal sex acts, and forcible touching. The doctor lost his medical license in 2016 as part of a plea deal. He served no jail time and got what some perceive to be a “slap on the wrist,” which was the subject of a New York Times article and several others questioning the District Attorney’s handling of the case.
CNN.com reported that court documents from the lawsuit contain allegations that Columbia University and the New York-Presbyterian hospital system, where he practiced as an obstetrician, “repeatedly and actively concealed, conspired and enabled the sexual exploitation and abuse being committed by defendant Robert Hadden as early as 1993.”
Previous Lawsuit Alleges Haddon Sexually Abused More Women
Hadden, Columbia University, and New York-Presbyterian are also defendants in another civil lawsuit, which was filed in 2017 by four unnamed women. That lawsuit remains ongoing and contains allegations similar to a lawsuit filed this month- that Hadden sexually abused the women and that the institutions which employed him, failed to protect them from the abuse.
Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Lists Allegations of Sexual Assault on Patients
Marissa Hoechstetter is the only named plaintiff in the lawsuit. The other women wish to remain anonymous. Hoechstetter told CNN that she was one of Hadden’s patients from 2009-2012 and that he delivered her twin daughters. Hoechstetter claims that during her time as his patient, Hadden made numerous inappropriate sexual comments to her. After she gave birth, Hadden allegedly came to her hospital bedside, exposed her breasts, and told her, “You look like a porn star.”
This particular act is just one, and perhaps the least offensive, of a long list of egregious acts in which patients claim Hadden engaged. The investigation into his behavior began in 2012 when a patient told the police that the doctor made oral contact with her genitals during an exam. According to the complaint, Hadden subjected patients to “medically unnecessary vaginal and anal penetration, often without gloves; serial, prolonged, and medically inappropriate breast examinations… and telling one patient who was a minor at the time, to get on all fours during her exam and proceeding to rub her body with his bare hands.”
Nurse Claims Hospital Told Her to Keep Quiet After She Saw the Doctor Sexually Abusing a Patient
It is unclear whether the women who filed the lawsuit reported the abuse at the time it occurred.
Victims of sexual abuse often experience shame and severe trauma, making it difficult to come forward. According to the complaint, however, at least one nurse said she walked in on Haddon abusing a patient in the early 1990s. She claimed she reported it to superiors at Columbia University and was instructed to “keep quiet” and not “let him get himself in trouble.”
Employers have a duty to ensure the safety of their employees and the people they treat.
Supervisors, hospital administrators, doctors, nurses, and others must protect the patients that enter their care. The failure to provide adequate protection can result in legal liability for injuries caused by their negligence.
For example, sexual abuse by a priest or teacher can result in liability for the catholic church or school. If the church or school district knew or should have known of the sexual abuse and failed to protect people, those entities might be held responsible. The same can be true of a university, corporation, or hospital.
Contact Sexual Abuse Lawyers at Alonso Krangle, LLP to Find Out if You Have Time to File a Claim
If a doctor sexually abused you, you might be eligible to file a lawsuit. Find out if there is still time by calling our sexual abuse lawyers at Alonso, Krangle, LLP.
Call Alonso Krangle, LLP, lawyers handling sexual abuse claims, at 800-403-6191 for a free evaluation of yours.