Evelyn Yang, the wife of presidential hopeful Andrew Yang, revealed in an exclusive interview with CNN that she was sexually assaulted by Dr. Robert Hadden, her obstetrician when she was pregnant with her first child in 2012.
Hadden was licensed to practice medicine in New York starting in 1990, and soon after he started working as a gynecologist at the world-renowned Columbia University Medical Center and their affiliated hospitals.
Yang, who’s a Columbia alum herself and married Andrew Yang in a destination wedding in 2011, told CNN that she initially didn’t sense anything off with Dr. Hadden. But as her pregnancy progressed and he started asking her questions about her sex life unrelated to the health of her child, red flags started popping up.
Here’s what you need to know about Dr. Robert Hadden:
1. Yang Detailed Her Story of Sexual Assult to CNN
“It seemed like he just wanted to hear about me talking about sex,” Yang said. “What I kept sticking to was this: ‘OK, so my doctor is pervy. I have a pervy doctor, but I’m going to focus on having a healthy baby,’ and the idea of changing doctors was overwhelming for me.”
Yang further revealed to CNN, “The examinations became longer, more frequent, and I learned that they were unnecessary most of the time.” When she was seven months pregnant, Yang said, “I was in the exam room, and I was dressed and ready to go. Then, at the last minute, he kind of made up an excuse. He said something about, ‘I think you might need a C-section,’ and he proceeded to grab me over to him and undress me and examine me internally, ungloved.”
I knew it was wrong. I knew I was being assaulted. I imagined myself as someone being, you know, like I would throw a chair at him and run out yelling bloody murder. I just kind of froze like a deer in headlights, just frozen. I knew it was happening. I could feel it. I remember trying to fix my eyes on a spot on the wall and just trying to avoid seeing his face as he was assaulting me, just waiting for it to be over.
Yang didn’t tell her husband at first because she “didn’t want Andrew blaming himself for not being able to go with me to these doctor’s visits.” However, she promptly switched doctors, despite the fact that it was already so late in her pregnancy, and it wasn’t until later Yang realized just how many other women Dr. Hadden had assaulted.
2. More Than 20 Women Have Accused Hadden of Sexual Assault, but He Never Went to Jail
After Yang gave birth to her son Christopher, she worked with assistant district attorney Laura Millendorf, who had collected similar sexual assault stories involving Dr. Hadden from 18 other women. While Yang and numerous other women testified before a grand jury, in 2016, the Manhattan district attorney’s office made a plea deal with Dr. Hadden.
After pleading guilty to only two of the nine charges brought against him in court, Dr. Hadden’s medical license was revoked and he had to register as a low-level sex-offender, but he did not go to jail.
3. The Same DA Who Initially Dismissed Harvey Weinstein’s Sexual Assault Case Presided Over Hadden’s Case
District Attorney Cyrus Vance, the same DA who gave lenient sentencing to Jeffrey Epstein, gave a statement to CNN following Yang’s interview.
Dr. Hadden was a serial sexual predator who used access and power to take advantage of women in their most vulnerable states. We support all of his survivors and applaud their strength and courage. Because a conviction is never a guaranteed outcome in a criminal trial, our primary concern was holding him accountable and making sure he could never do this again — which is why we insisted on a felony conviction and permanent surrender of his medical license. While we stand by our legal analysis and resulting disposition of this difficult case, we regret that this resolution has caused survivors pain.
4. A Class Action Lawsuit Was Brought Against Columbia By Dr. Hadden’s Sexual Assault Victims
With Janet, Janet & Suggs leading the fight against Dr. Hadden, his victims sued Columbia University and its affiliated hospitals for covering up his abuse.
In 2018, as reported by the NY Post, the suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court read, “Despite the fact that medical chaperones, nurses, supervisors, administrators, doctors and other hospital personnel were aware of the sexual exploitation and abuse being perpetrated by Robert Hadden, dating back to at least the 1990’s … [the defendants] actively and deliberately — and inexplicably — concealed Robert Hadden’s sexual abuse for decades.”
5. The Only Other Victim Who’s Chosen Not to Be Anonymous Is Marissa Hoechstetter
At the time, the only victim to step out from anonymity was Marissa Hoechstetter. Dr. Hadden was her OB-GYN between 2009 and 2012, and she told CBS News that “from the start, there were inappropriate questions. There was a lot of touching. There were exams without nurses or other people in the room, and on the last occasion, when I knew that something happened, he licked me. And I knew that that happened and I never went back to the office again.”‘
It has deeply affected my life. I did not go to doctors for a number of years. I have to think really carefully about who I’m going to see. It has destroyed the memories of my pregnancy. What should have been really a very joyful time in one’s life when I look back on it, it’s a horrible memory. There was a time when I would look at my daughters and almost resent them for being the reason that I was seeing this person in the first place. It’s a challenge, and it’s something that I think very hard about how to move past that, and, you know, take care of myself medically now, take care of my children.