New York City’s Columbia University and Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) announced a plan that includes a $100 million fund for survivors to address the abuse and trauma inflicted by former gynecologist Robert Hadden.
The $100 million survivors’ settlement fund will open in January 2024 and stay open for at least one year – allowing survivors to receive resources without needing to retain a lawyer.
The school said it will notify nearly 6,500 former patients about the crimes for which Hadden has been convicted and sentenced and inform them of their rights under the New York State Adult Survivors Act. It also will provide information about the survivors’ settlement fund and how to make a claim, and will encourage any patient with any information about Hadden’s conduct to reach out to an external investigator.
The university committed to an external investigation to “thoroughly examine the circumstances and failures that allowed Hadden’s abuse to continue.” Joan Loughnane, a partner at Sidley Austin LLP who previously served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, will lead the investigation.
The New York State Adult Survivors Act, signed a year ago, extended the statute of limitations for civil suits until Nov. 24, 2023 for allegations that would have been time-barred.
Hadden left CUIMC in 2012 and has not worked as a doctor since then. He was convicted of federal sexual assault charges in January 2023 and sentenced to 20 years in prison in July.
The university has previously settled more than 220 survivor claims through settlement funds.
In 2021, the medical center and university reached an agreement with 79 patients who reported instances of sexual abuse or misconduct by Hadden. That agreement established a compensation fund of $71.5 million.
Last October, the Columbia medical center and New York-Presbyterian hospital agreed to pay more than $165 million to 147 former Hadden patients.
“We owe it to the courageous survivors and the entire Columbia community to fully reckon with Hadden’s abuses,” Minouche Shafik, president of Columbia University and Dr. Katrina Armstrong, chief executive officer of the CUIMC, said in a statement. “Columbia failed these survivors, and for that we are deeply sorry. This announcement aims to ensure we are on a path that repairs harm and prevents further trauma – moving us forward and rebuilding the trust of our entire community.”
To help promote its efforts, Columbia has set up a website – cuimc.columbia.edu/rebuildingtrust – that will centralize access to resources and support for survivors.
Top photo: Robert Hadden appears in Manhattan Supreme Court, Feb. 23, 2016, in New York. A federal judge has given a 20-year sentence to the gynecologist who sexually abused dozens of patients for over two decades at prestigious New York hospitals. The judge says Hadden’s crimes were shocking and unprecedented. (Alec Tabak via AP, File)
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