A gynaecologist who sexually assaulted over 200 patients over the period of two decades was given a 20-year prison sentence.
As a New York judge handed down the maximum prison term for Robert Hadden, 64, for his “unprecedented” crimes, he sobbed in court and apologised for “all the pain” he had caused.
At least 245 women reported being molested by Hadden during examinations spanning more than two decades, leading to his previous description as a “predator in a white coat.”
The case contained “outrageous, horrific, beyond extraordinary, depraved sexual abuse,” according to Judge Richard M. Berman, who described it as unlike anything he had ever seen before.
Nine of his victims gave testimony at the trial, outlining how Hadden sexually assaulted them while they were receiving gynaecology care at prestigious hospitals across New York starting in the late 1980s.
According to prosecution testimony, Hadden groomed his patients in a private office filled with images of his children while he spoke with them about their personal life, benefiting from the reputation of the institutions where he worked.
However, after a nurse or chaperone left the treatment area and he had isolated them, he fondled and prodded them with gloveless fingers and occasionally orally.
Because they were expecting, had health issues, had never seen another gynaecologist before, or simply had no other choice except to trust that Hadden was acting appropriately, many patients were particularly vulnerable, the court observed.
Hadden was first accused of misbehaviour in 2012, and after 19 complaints were made against him, he was later taken into custody in 2014.
Nevertheless, the Manhattan district attorney permitted him to enter a guilty plea to two low-level felonies and a misdemeanour, which resulted in the revocation of his medical licence but prevented him from going to jail.
Some of the women who had approached state prosecutors were upset, but their tales didn’t come to the attention of the general public until the #MeToo movement gained traction in 2017.
Hadden spoke to the court for the first and only time during the trial moments before the official sentence was read on Tuesday. He apologised for his crimes.
When Hadden was given the opportunity to speak, he stood with his hands folded in front of him and said, “There is much I’d like to say, but counsel has advised me to keep my statement brief.”
Before lowering his head and taking a new seat, the grieving Hadden remarked, “I’m very sorry for all the pain that I have caused.” He then removed his glasses and dabbed his eyes with a tissue.
Hadden still hasn’t admitted guilt, according to assistant US attorney Jane Kim, who made the statement on Tuesday.
Several dozen of Hadden’s accusers were present in the courtroom for his sentence, and several of them interacted with reporters and other attendees thereafter while discussing their feelings with one another and the media. Liz Hall, one of them, stated that she thought Hadden’s declaration of regret was insincere.
“That wasn’t an apology,” I said. In no way has he expressed regret or compassion. She said, “I believe he is incompetent.
The sentencing, according to Hall, should inspire other people who have experienced sexual abuse to come forward.
The judge’s decision marked the end of a protracted legal battle for the victims of Hadden, and the announcement was warmly received by the prosecution.
In a statement on Tuesday, US attorney Damian Williams said, “We thank and commend the victims who bravely came forward to share their stories and ensure that their abuser faces justice.”