Dr Robert Hadden "surreptitiously licked countless patients' vaginas"
Dr Robert Hadden was supposed to make Yang feel safe, secure and confident during her pregnancy. Instead, Hadden violated her trust and her body.
After numerous examinations in 2012 that were “longer and more frequent”, Hadden took his violations one step further when Yang was seven months pregnant.
“I was in the exam room, and I was dressed and ready to go,” Yang recalled. “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,” she added.
Yang had always considered herself as someone who would run away if faced with the situation. However, at that moment, she froze.
“I imagined myself as someone being, you know, like I would throw a chair at him and run out yelling bloody murder,” Yang said. “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.”
A traumatised Yang left the room and began piecing everything together, blaming herself for what happened.
“I thought there was something I did to invite this kind of behavior,” she said. “I feel like I put up with some inappropriate behavior that I didn’t know at the time was straight-up sexual abuse/sexual assault until much later, and I regret having put up with that.”
Keeping the incident a secret, Yang internalised her pain in order to protect her family from sharing said pain.
“I didn’t tell Andrew or my family because I didn’t want to upset them,” she said. I thought, ‘This happened to me. I can process this. I can deal with it. I can compartmentalize it.'”
“I certainly didn’t want Andrew blaming himself for not being able to go with me to these doctor’s visits because honestly, if he was with me in the room, if anyone was with me in the room, this obviously wouldn’t have happened,” she said.
After Yang gave birth to her son Christopher, she received a letter informing her that Dr Hadden had left the practice. Intrigued, she searched for his name online, only to discover that another woman had reported him to the police for assaulting her.
“I got goosebumps and I thought to myself, what if this has something to do with what happened to me?” She pondered. “And at that moment, everything just stood still. It was this sense of relief of finally realizing that I wasn’t alone in it. It wasn’t something that I did. This was a serial predator and he just picked me as his prey.”
It was at that moment that she told her husband Andrew. “I needed to share it at that moment because it felt so big to me and I needed that support. And I told him, and he cried,” she said.
Andrew recalled how she once told him that men should not be allowed to be OB-GYNs.
“He remembered that I had made this comment and he felt so bad. He felt guilty that he didn’t make the connection or ask me more,” she said. “He felt terrible for me, and I think that’s what I was trying to prevent by not telling him in the first place.”
Shockingly, Hadden had been arrested in his office for licking a patient’s vagina just six weeks before he assaulted Yang. His arrest was voided and he was allowed to return to work.
“What happened to me should have never happened. He was arrested in his office,” Yang said. “I mean at the very least, the bare minimum would be to make sure that there’s an aide all the time, and that’s what’s very painful is knowing that actually what happened to me could have been prevented.”
“Can you imagine the audacity of a man who continues to do this after being arrested? It’s like he knew that he wouldn’t face any repercussions. That he was protected. That he wouldn’t be fired,” Yang added.
Assistant district attorney Laura Millendorf worked with Yang to file a case against Hadden, with information collected from 18 of his female patients.
The civil suit against Hadden lists sexual assault allegations including “performing multiple unnecessary exams, forcing patients to strip naked, groping their breasts and bodies, digitally penetrating their vaginas and anuses, and surreptitiously licking countless patients’ vaginas.”
However, the same DA who initially dismissed Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault case and failed to prosecute him – Cyrus Vance – also presided over Hadden’s case. In 2016, Vance agreed to allow Mr Hadden to avoid jail time.
Vance fought for the lowest sex offender status for Hadden, which the judge granted. Yang was not even allowed to speak to the judge.
“I was just flat-out denied,” she said. “It was very strategic so that the judge wouldn’t be influenced if there were dozens of women in court saying that this man had assaulted them to this degree, maybe the judge would have said, ‘Why is he not getting any jail time? Why aren’t you pursuing jail time?’”
Although Hadden eventually lost his medical license, he only pleaded guilty to assault two women – Yang was not even one of them.
“I’m extraordinarily proud of Evelyn for telling her story, and my heart breaks every time I think of what she had to experience,” he said, adding, “I hope that Evelyn’s story gives strength to those who have suffered and sends a clear message that our institutions must do more to protect and respond to women.”
In related news, CNBC recently mistook Redpoint Ventures VC Geoff Yang for Andrew Yang.