17 Women Allege Ivy League University Covered Up Doctor's Sexual Abuse

Today, 17 women filed a lawsuit alleging a conspiracy to conceal and cover-up cases of sexual abuse within one of the nation’s oldest and most respected universities.

The suit filed today against Columbia University and its hospital is yet another example of an institution both trying and failing to protect itself and its reputation when dealing with allegations of sex crimes. In a case that echoes that of Larry Nassar at Michigan State, the suit against Dr. Robert Hadden shows that a man in a position of power abused that position to harass, intimidate, and violate vulnerable women. Making matters worse, others in similar positions of power acted first to protect their institution instead of those who had been victimized. Despite having been made aware of Hadden’s abuse in the 1990’s, minimal action was taken and Hadden was able to continue working at Columbia until 2012. Had officials acted to protect vulnerable women instead of their own reputations, it is likely that this case would never have been filed.

The doctor pleaded guilty in 2016, but only in relation to two victims. As today’s lawsuit shows, however, the inaction from officials at Columbia allowed Dr. Hadden to abuse far more than just those two women.

We applaud the brave women who have brought this case forward and are trying to hold accountable those who enabled and covered up for this serial abuser. We hope that by coming forward they will empower other victims of not only Dr. Hadden, but others who may have been similarly victimized.

CONTACT: Tim Lennon, SNAP President (tlennon@snapnetwork.org, 415-312-5820), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org

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