The gynecologist who cut a widely panned plea deal in state court for sexually abusing two patients was allowed to walk because the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office was allegedly caught red-handed withholding evidence, the disgraced doctor’s lawyers revealed Thursday.
The disclosure was made during a hearing in Manhattan federal court, where Dr. Robert Hadden, 62, is now separately charged with sexually abusing six patients — including one minor — and is being held on $1 million bond.
The perplexing plea struck in state court in 2016 had outraged dozens of victims who came forward — including former presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s wife, Evelyn Yang, who has said she was sexually assaulted by the former New York-Presbyterian Hospital doctor in 2012 when she was pregnant with her first child.
He is not charged in connection to her allegations.
Defense lawyer Isabelle Kirshner told U.S. District Judge Richard Berman that the DA initially wanted no less than four years behind bars for Hadden, who had also worked at a Columbia University medical practice.
But then state prosecutors turned over Hadden’s personnel file, and it was missing a single page: a nurse’s statement saying that she was present during one alleged assault in 2012 and witnessed nothing improper. By law, the DA was required to turn over the document.
Kirshner’s team only discovered the glaring omission after subpoenaing the voluminous personnel file directly from the hospital and finding the statement, she said.
During a number of subsequent court appearances, she repeatedly pressed the DA on whether there was any outstanding evidence to which they were entitled. The prosecutors on the case and their supervisors said no, according to the attorney.
“After our discussion in which we pointed out what appeared to b a deliberate attempt to hide this report, the prosecution agreed to a non-incarceratory sentence,” Kirshner explained.
The stunning deal meant Hadden wasn’t required to spend a single day in jail or on probation. Federal prosecutors didn’t dispute Kirshner’s account.
In 2016, Hadden pleaded guilty to criminal sexual act and forcible touching in connection to two victims, and prosecutors agreed not to pursue charges related to more than 20 known accusers. Hadden also forfeited his medical license as part of the agreement.
During his sentencing, one victim said he had performed oral sex on her during a pregnancy examination. “It dented my psyche and ruined the most sacred moment of my life,” she told the court.
Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr., who has repeatedly come under fire for his handling of the case, didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
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