A jury in Manhattan on Tuesday found former Columbia University gynecologist Robert Hadden guilty of luring patients to New York City to sexually abuse them under the guise of medical care.
It took the jury less than three hours to consider the case after two weeks of hearing evidence.
The verdict caps a stunning downfall for Hadden, whose patients have pressured New York authorities for more than a decade to hold him criminally accountable for the sexual abuse they suffered at his hands.
He faces up to 80 years in prison if convicted in April, but his victims say they are serving life sentences.
“I have the memory of his fingers and his face and his dizziness when he touched me,” victim Jessica Sell Chambers said in court. “He condemned us to millennia of memory and trauma.”
Sell Chambers and other women urged Manhattan Federal Court Judge Richard Berman to remand Hadden pending sentencing, but the jury agreed to let the disgraced doctor For now, stay out on a $1 million bond at his Englewood, NJ home.
That decision prompted one victim, a woman named Adina, to rise from a spectator bench and ask how the judge could allow a “sexual predator” to go home and care for his disabled wife and son, Berman said conceded was a valid point.
Adina, who asked the Daily News to withhold her last name, told Berman she was a virgin when she first visited Hadden at 20 and left the appointment bleeding. She said he led her to believe the abuse was medically necessary.
The conviction comes more than six years after Hadden escaped prison when he was convicted on state charges of harming two women in a much-criticized plea deal with the Manhattan District Attorney.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said Tuesday’s guilty verdict held Hadden accountable for a year-long cycle of abuse.
“Robert Hadden was a predator in a white coat. For years he cruelly lured women seeking professional medical care into his offices to masturbate,” Williams said.
The jury heard testimony from two nurses who said they saw Hadden abusing patients as early as the late 1980s. They heard from nine victims who said he abused them between 1998 and 2012. Evidence showed that Hadden had abused patients of all ages, including many who were pregnant.
The victims in both cases represented a fraction of more than 350 former patients who had accused him of the abuse, one of the first women to come forward, Marissa Hoechstetter, said in court.
“Even though it’s taken too long, so many people have worked tirelessly to hold Hadden accountable,” Hoechstetter said after the trial. “He must bear the shame.”
Laurie Kanyok, the first woman to report Hadden to authorities in 2012, tearfully told Berman that the doctor had managed to evade justice every time she appeared in court. She said the psychological pain and torture Hadden inflicted on his victims meant, “We walk the earth free, but we are not free.”
Hadden wore a black suit and sat in the front row next to his family with a blank expression on his face while his victims spoke in court. His attorney, Deirdre von Dornum, declined to comment.
The federal indictment against Hadden focused on four female prosecutors who said he enticed travel from abroad to abuse him at his workplace.
His legal team attempted to persuade the jury that the underlying sexual abuse allegations were irrelevant, urging panelists to be “frustrated” with the Manhattan DA’s office, Congress and the federal case, but not to convict him, because he had lured women into his practice, even if they believed he had abused them.
The second conviction comes as part of a civil lawsuit against Hadden and the elite institutions where he abused patients.
In October, Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian announced an ongoing $165 million settlement involving 147 of his alleged victims. It came after a similar deal in 2021, when the institutions paid $71 million to 79 of his former patients.
Evelyn Yang, married to former New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, was among a group of Haddens victims lobbying New York lawmakers to pass the Adult Survivors Act, which went into effect in November. She said Hadden molested her in 2012 when she was seven months pregnant.
The legislation provided a one-year tracing period for victims of sexual assault to sue their alleged attackers, regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred.
“When I publicly commented on Hadden in 2020, it has been almost three years to this date. I knew there were others affected by it, but had no idea it would be hundreds of women,” Yang told The News.
“And when hundreds of women came forward, they were told, ‘It’s too bad. You’re too late.’ And that’s terrible. I thought there must be something we can do.”
Hadden left the court with his wife and son without comment.