Gynaecologist Robert Hadden who sexually abused over 200 patients jailed for 20 years

Robert Hadden, pictured at Manhattan Supreme Court in February 2023  (AP)
Robert Hadden, pictured at Manhattan Supreme Court in February 2023 (AP)

A gynaecologist who sexually abused more than 200 trusting patients for over two decades - including vulnerable pregnant women - at prestigious New York hospitals has been jailed for 20 years.

Robert Hadden, 64, cried before he was handed the sentence on Tuesday, by a federal judge who called his crimes unprecedented.

It came as a measure of vindication for former patients who accused the doctor of molesting them during medical examinations, after an earlier state prosecution ended with a plea bargain that spared Hadden from jail.

Given a chance to address the courtroom on Tuesday, he stood with his hands folded before him, and sobbed “I’m very sorry for all the pain that I have caused”, before sitting back down and wiping tears from his eyes.

Judge Richard M Berman told the court the case was like none he’d seen before and involved “outrageous, horrific, beyond extraordinary, depraved sexual abuse.”

He noted that at least 245 women Hadden treated said they were abused.

But the federal trial involved a smaller number of victims. Hadden was convicted of four counts of enticing women to cross state lines so he could sexually abuse them.

Nine victims testified at the trial, describing how Hadden molested them during gynaecology treatments, starting in the late 1980s, at prominent hospitals including Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

Allegations of misconduct during examinations first surfaced in 2012.

Hadden was indicted on state charges in 2014 as women - 19 and counting - kept coming forward.

Sexual assault survivor Liz Hall speaks to members of the media after Hadden’s sentencing (AP)
Sexual assault survivor Liz Hall speaks to members of the media after Hadden’s sentencing (AP)

But in 2016, the office of the Manhattan district attorney at the time, Cyrus Vance Jr, allowed Hadden to plead guilty to two low-level felonies and a misdemeanor in a deal that required him to give up his medical license but didn’t require jail time and kept him out of the state’s sex offender registry.

Some of the women who had gone to state prosecutors were outraged, but their stories didn’t start receiving public attention until the MeToo movement began gaining steam in 2017.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan got a grand jury indictment against Hadden in 2020 - charges based on the fact that some patients at his New York offices had come into the city from other states. He was convicted in January.

On Tuesday, several dozen of Hadden‘s accusers were in the courtroom for his sentencing and some of them spoke outside the courthouse afterwards, sharing their emotions with reporters and one another.

Among them was Liz Hall, who said she found Hadden’s expression of regret hollow.

“That was not an apology,” she said. “He has shown zero remorse or empathy. I think he’s incapable.”


Ms Hall said she hoped the sentence would give other victims of sexual abuse courage to speak out. Some of the women abused by Hadden later pushed for a change to New York law that made it easier for survivors of sexual abuse to sue over allegations normally barred by the statute of limitations.

Hospitals where Hadden worked have agreed to pay more than $236 million to settle civil claims by more than 200 former patients.

According to trial testimony, Hadden benefitted from the prestige of the hospitals where he worked as he groomed his patients in a private office decorated with pictures of his children as he conversed with them about their personal lives.

But once he had isolated them after a chaperone or nurse left the treatment room, he fondled and probed them with gloveless fingers and sometimes orally.

The judge noted that many patients were particularly vulnerable because they were pregnant, had physical problems, or had never been to another gynaecologist and trusted that Hadden was behaving properly.

Assistant US Attorney Jane Kim said on Tuesday that Hadden still had not accepted responsibility for his crimes.