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New York City gynecologist indicted for sexual assaults spanning decades

Dr. Robert Hadden was accused by Evelyn Yang, Andrew Yang's wife, of sexual assault earlier this year.
Dr. Robert Hadden appears in Manhattan Supreme Court on Sept. 4, 2014.
Dr. Robert Hadden appears in Manhattan Supreme Court on Sept. 4, 2014.Jefferson Siegel / NY Daily News via Getty Images file

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have indicted a former New York City gynecologist on charges of sexually assaulting his patients in an alleged pattern of abuse that they say occurred between 1993 and 2012.

Dr. Robert Hadden was a medical doctor who worked for NewYork-Presbyterian and Columbia University hospitals. He faces several counts of enticement and inducement to travel to engage in illegal sex acts tied to six victims, including one minor identified as “Minor Victim-1,” whom prosecutors say Hadden “repeatedly sexually abused.”

In an email to NBC News, attorney Isabella A. Kirshner confirmed she will represent Hadden at his presentment. “I'm not sure if I'll continue after that,” she wrote. Kirshner said Hadden did not have any further comment at this time.

The allegations against the doctor came to the forefront when Evelyn Yang, the wife of presidential candidate Andrew Yang, spoke out publicly about what she says happened to her during a medical exam.

When she was seven months pregnant, Evelyn Yang told CNN earlier this year, she believed her appointment was done and she was getting ready to leave when the doctor told her abruptly that he thought she might need a cesarean section.

She said Hadden pulled her to him and undressed her, then used his ungloved fingers to examine her internally.

"Something about being on the trail and meeting people and seeing the difference that we've been making already has moved me to share my own story about it, about sexual assault," she told CNN at the time. It is unknown whether Yang is one of the victims included in the indictment.

"Thank you to the US Attorney's Office of the Southern District of New York for bringing these charges against Dr. Hadden. They are long overdue," Evelyn Yang said in a statement Wednesday. "... Thank you to everyone who made today possible. It shows that if we come forward we can make a difference."

At a press conference Wednesday, acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said Hadden “acted as a predator in a white coat."

“Hadden allegedly used the examinations of his victims for his own sexual gratification, abusing dozens of victims over a nearly 20-year period, including multiple minor girls, one of whom Hadden had himself delivered," Strauss continued in a statement to NBC News.

FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney urged victims to come forward, saying that "FBI special agents, NYPD detectives, analysts, victim specialists, and prosecutors investigating this case are here for each and every one of you, and we are your advocates. It is important to remember nothing Dr. Hadden has done was, or ever will be, your fault.”

Prosecutors allege in court documents that Hadden repeatedly encouraged the minor victim’s parents to have their daughter see him and “repeatedly sexually abused Minor Victim-1 through a course of conduct that lacked any valid medical purpose."

Hadden, the indictment says, conducted breast exams and administered a vaginal exam “during which he licked the minor victim's vagina.”

The doctor is charged with enticing and inducing the women to travel to his New York City office so he could engage in the assaults.

In 2014 the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office charged Hadden with multiple counts of committing a criminal sexual act and he pleaded guilty to one count of forcible touching and one count of third-degree criminal sexual contact.

Hadden was sentenced in 2016 and was required to register as a sexual offender and his medical license was revoked.

An FBI spokesperson told NBC News that Hadden was taken into custody by the FBI this morning at his home in Engelwood, NJ.

Danny Frost, a spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney's office, told NBC News, “Our office provided substantial assistance leading to today’s indictment, and our continuing investigation — which examines potential failures by Dr. Hadden’s employer and hospital to disclose additional incidents of abuse to our office and to regulators when required — is intensely active and ongoing.”

A spokesperson for Columbia said in a statement: "Nothing is more important to Columbia than the safety of our patients, and we condemn sexual misconduct in any form. We commend the women who have spoken out against Robert Hadden and will cooperate fully with the U.S. Attorney's Office."