Dr. Robert Hadden, accused by Evelyn Yang of sexual assault, faces allegations from nearly 40 more women after Yang’s interview with CNN aired.
Yang, the wife of former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, told CNN in an exclusive interview last month that while she was pregnant with her first child in 2012, Hadden, now 61, would ask her inappropriate questions about her sex life during appointments. She said Hadden’s examinations had become “longer, more frequent and I learned that they were unnecessary most of the time,” but told herself she needed to trust him. When she was seven months pregnant, she said, Hadden assaulted her. Hadden’s attorney has denied the allegations.
“I was in the exam room, and I was dressed and ready to go. Then, at the last minute, he kind of made up an excuse. He said something about, ‘I think you might need a C-section,’ and he proceeded to grab me over to him and undress me and examine me internally, ungloved,” Yang said. “I knew it was wrong. I knew I was being assaulted.”
Since Yang’s interview aired, dozens of additional women came forward, according to a new CNN report. A lawsuit was filed against Hadden and Columbia University, where Hadden practiced, in 2019. Anthony DiPietro, the attorney who filed the suit, told CNN that he will add the new accusers as plaintiffs to his suit. Assuming all the accusers agree to be added, 70 people will be suing Hadden and Columbia.
One of the new accusers is Emilia Heckman, a fashion model. She says that in addition to asking inappropriate questions during appointments, Hadden performed oral sex on her while she was in the stirrups. As Heckman was the last appointment of the day, Hadden had sent his nurse home, and the two were alone.
“At first it was gloves on, and all of that,” Heckman said. “And then it transitioned to no gloves, a tongue and a beard.”
Another accuser, elementary school teacher Jessica Chambers, said Hadden was her first gynecologist. She also says Hadden made a number of inappropriate comments and questions about her sex life, and then assaulted her with his bare hands while telling her how the process of sexual arousal happens.
“I mean now, in hindsight, I’m like, he was trying to arouse me while talking to me—under the guise of education,” Chambers said. “I’m thinking to myself, this is enough—I want his hands off of me. … And it went on for—it seemed like an extended period of time.”
Hadden had faced some legal consequences for his actions in the past. In 2012, he was arrested after a woman said he licked her vagina during an examination. However, that arrest was voided, and Hadden returned to work.
In 2015, Hadden was again accused of sexual abuse by six of his patents between September 2011 and June 2012. He was charged with five counts of committing criminal sex acts, two counts of forcible touching and two counts of sexual abuse. Assistant District Attorney Laura Millendorf told the New York Daily News at the time that, even then, “victims keep coming forward.”
One of those victims—of 18 who shared their stories with Millendorf—was Yang. Yang testified in a grand jury trial, leading to Hadden’s indictment. Hadden originally pleaded not guilty, but later changed his plea to guilty on two counts—one count of forcible touching and one of criminal sexual act in the third degree. He surrendered his medical license and had to register as a sex offender at the lowest level, but faced no other consequences.
Yang’s interview also brought attention on the earlier case, as well as criticism of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. Vance has faced accusations of being lenient on sexual abuse cases, particularly in the cases of sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and film producer Harvey Weinstein. The New York City Council’s women caucus has called for Vance to resign, accusing him of failing to protect victims.
“Dr. Hadden was a serial sexual predator who used access and power to take advantage of women in their most vulnerable states. We support all of his survivors, and applaud their strength and courage. Because a conviction is never a guaranteed outcome in a criminal trial, our primary concern was holding him accountable and making sure he could never do this again—which is why we insisted on a felony conviction and permanent surrender of his medical license. While we stand by our legal analysis and resulting disposition of this difficult case, we regret that this resolution has caused survivors pain,” Vance said in a statement to CNN.