By Sonia Moghe, CNN
Updated: Thu, 02 Dec 2021 00:50:10 GMT
Dozens of women who say they were sexually abused by former gynecologist Robert Hadden reached a settlement with the hospital system that employed him that will allow them to seek money from a $71.5 million victims' compensation fund.
Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital reached the settlement with 79 women who were patients of Hadden, according to a news release from a law firm representing the women. The $71.5 million will be distributed under the direction of an independent special master selected by attorneys representing the women and the hospital system, the news release said.
"At his core, Hadden was an evil man who preyed upon his patients, many of whom entrusted him with their healthcare and that of their unborn children. This resolution, in combination with the ongoing federal prosecution of Hadden, will hopefully reduce their trauma, allow them to find some measure of closure and put this horrific ordeal behind them," Adam P. Slater, an attorney who is representing victims said in a statement.
Notably absent from the settlement is Evelyn Yang, wife of the former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who told CNN in an exclusive interview that Hadden sexually abused her while she was pregnant.
Hadden was indicted in 2020 for six counts of enticing and inducing dozens of victims to travel to his medical offices in New York and subjecting them to unlawful sexual abuse from about 1993 to 2012, according to prosecutors. The charges involved a minor and five adults. Hadden entered a plea of not guilty in July, according to court filings.
CNN has reached out to an attorney for Hadden for comment. Hadden pleaded guilty in 2016 to a criminal sex act in the third degree and forcible touching and was required to surrender his medical license. He has not practiced as a doctor since August 2012, according to the release.
Dr. Donna Lynne, Columbia University Irving Medical Center senior vice president and chief operating officer, said in a statement that the settlement reflects the hospital system's determination to support the admirable women who have come forward and called attention to Hadden's "abhorrent behavior."
"Our goal has been to make sure that what Hadden did can never happen again. Over the past decade, we have prioritized a patient-centered approach to care and safety, and we remain committed to continually strengthening the safeguards that allow patients to put their trust in us," said Lynne.
Dozens of women came forward to say they had been assaulted by Hadden after a series of CNN investigations, including an exclusive story that showed Columbia officials were warned about Hadden decades ago.
Yang, as well as another survivor, Marissa Hoechstetter, released a statement after the settlement was announced Wednesday saying they were not a part of the agreement and that they "intend to fully expose the institutional coverup that resulted in hundreds if not thousands of women being sexually assaulted" by Hadden.
When asked about the coverup allegation, Columbia told CNN, "CUIMC and NYP continue to work to resolve outstanding claims with additional former patients."
"A conveniently selective settlement at this time only further illustrates (Columbia's) singular motive -- protecting themselves. We have asked repeatedly that Columbia notify the thousands of women that Hadden saw over his 20+ year tenure and likely abused. They refuse," Yang and Hoechstetter said in their statement.
Yang and Hoechstetter said in their statement that there are at least 80 additional women who are still attempting to settle their claims with Columbia.
"Today's announcement reveals the institution's apathy towards the remaining survivors, glorifying themselves while leaving the majority of Hadden victims in the dark and without closure," Yang and Hoechstetter said.