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Survivors of sexual assault by a New York gynecologist talk about the long road to justice

By 37ci3 Feb17,2024

Laurie Kanyok visited her gynecologist just six weeks after giving birth Robert Hadden for a 2012 postpartum screening at Columbia University. When the nurse working with Hadden left the room, he attacked Kanyok.

“There was no one else in the room. I was naked in a paper gown. And here’s a man who has the audacity to verbally attack me,” Kanyok told NBC News. “All these things go through your head. Who do I talk to? How do I get out of here? Who’s going to believe me? It’s my word against his.”

Kanyok contacted the police, sparking a decades-long fight for justice for hundreds of patients. Abused by Hadden During his career at Columbia. In an exclusive group interview, NBC News spoke with five women who said their lives changed after being sexually assaulted by Hadden.

Former Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance launched an investigation and indicted Hadden in 2014, alleging he sexually abused his patients. Hadden reached a plea deal with Vance in 2016 and pleaded guilty to one felony count of third-degree criminal sexual act and one felony count of forcible touching. He surrendered his medical license as part of the deal, but served no jail time.

Hadden was later indicted federally in 2020 on eight counts of sexually assaulting female patients out of state from 1993 to 2012. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison last year after federal prosecutors found evidence that he abused patients at Columbia University and its affiliated hospitals.

Hadden’s attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.

Diane Monson, who was assaulted by Hadden during her second pregnancy, wrote a letter of complaint to Columbia University in 1994 detailing the abuse. The university, according to Monson, responded and said they would investigate, but she never heard from them again.

“They had their heads up,” he said, “it was a very detailed headline and they just ignored it.”

Eva Santos-Veloz, who was 18 when Hadden assisted in the emergency delivery, said he touched her uncomfortably and sometimes without gloves during the 18-hour labor. He also said that his complaints were not satisfied. “When it happened at the hospital, I tried to talk,” she said, “and I was told that I was overreacting, that it had to do with my labor a few hours earlier.”

Columbia University has agreed to settle at least two of the lawsuits 2021 and 2022 brought by More than 200 Hadden’s former patientsIn the amount of more than 200 million dollars.

Columbia University President Minouche Shafik and Columbia University Irving Medical Center CEO Dr. “Columbia failed these survivors and for that we are deeply sorry,” said Katrina Armstrong. statement.

CUIMC to “restore and rebuild trust,” including informing former patients of Hadden’s conviction, establishing a settlement fund for survivors, reviewing patient safety protocols and bringing in an outside investigator to “determine the conditions” that allowed Hadden said that he has taken a number of steps. Abuse according to a statement.

But survivors told NBC News that settlements will never undo the damage Hadden did. Santos-Veloz said, “No amount of money will make me feel comfortable walking into a clinic or seeing a doctor.”

Many of the women said they were re-traumatized in medical settings because of Hadden’s abuse.

“It’s a severe trauma to our body,” Maldonado said. “Sometimes you don’t even realize it’s causing it and you come to the meeting and start having an anxiety attack.”

Marissa Hoechstetter, who was pregnant while having Hadden, said, “If we really want to move on from this, we need to think about what happened, how it happened, and how we can prevent it from happening again. “

Speaking to NBC News, Anthony Dipietro, an attorney for several of the women, said he currently represents more than 500 clients against Columbia University and Hadden.

Maldonado said she hopes speaking out will encourage other survivors to come forward and seek support.

“Don’t be afraid,” Maldonado said. “You are not alone.”

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By 37ci3

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