For over 20 years, Columbia University turned a blind eye to the abusive behavior of obstetrician Robert Hadden. Despite numerous patient complaints, the university allowed Hadden to continue practicing, undermining the criminal investigation against him. In this article, we will delve into five key documents that shed light on how Columbia protected a predator. These documents provide crucial evidence and insight into the university’s knowledge of Hadden’s actions and their failure to protect patients. Let’s explore 5 Key Documents that Expose Columbia University’s Role in Protecting a Predator.
1. The Police Report
One of Hadden’s victims, Laurie Kanyok, reported the assault immediately to the police in June 2012. By obtaining an unredacted copy of the police report through a public records request, we were able to confirm the timeline of events as described by Kanyok. The report also revealed that administrators within Columbia’s OB/GYN department were aware of Hadden’s arrest, with one even showing up at the office in response to the police presence. Despite this knowledge, Columbia failed to take appropriate action.
2. The “Dear Bob” Letter
In July 2012, a letter addressed to Hadden, known as the “Dear Bob” letter, came to light during our investigation. This letter, which had been filed by prosecutors, outlined specific conditions under which Hadden could resume his clinical activities. It stated that if Hadden complied with university and hospital policies, including having a chaperone present during examinations, he would be allowed to continue practicing. The letter was signed by Hadden’s supervisor and was cc’d to three high-level administrators at Columbia. This document provided evidence that more individuals within the university were aware of Hadden’s situation than previously known.
3. The “Dear Valued Patient” Letter
In August 2012, Columbia sent a letter to Hadden’s former patients, informing them that he had left the practice. However, conspicuously absent from the letter was any mention of the reasons behind his departure. Obtained early on in our investigation, this letter highlighted the university’s missed opportunity to inform patients about Hadden’s abusive behavior. To this day, many of Hadden’s former patients remain unaware of his criminal convictions, as Columbia has failed to notify them.
4. The Post-It Note
Patient Sandy Abramowicz reported Hadden’s abuse to another Columbia OB-GYN in 2014. In response, the doctor handed Abramowicz a Post-It note containing the name and phone number of Patricia Catapano, Columbia’s deputy general counsel at the time. This note served as tangible proof that Columbia was referring patients to its own legal counsel instead of involving the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which was conducting an investigation into Hadden. Despite the significance of this evidence, Columbia’s response to our inquiry was met with silence from Catapano.
5. The DA Report
In 2020, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office initiated a criminal investigation into Columbia’s handling of the Hadden case. Obtaining documents directly related to this investigation proved invaluable. These documents revealed patient complaints that were previously unknown, indicating that Columbia had failed to share these complaints with the DA’s office despite subpoenas. Furthermore, the documents highlighted Columbia’s failure to place record-retention holds and establish guidelines for documenting additional patient complaints. The evidence clearly showed that Columbia had undermined prosecutors in the Hadden case.
These five key documents provide a comprehensive understanding of how Columbia University protected a predator for over two decades. From the initial police report to the DA’s investigation, these documents expose the university’s knowledge of Hadden’s abusive behavior and their failure to take appropriate action. Despite recent apologies from Columbia’s new leadership, the university has yet to fully acknowledge the extent of their negligence. It is crucial that institutions like Columbia are held accountable for their role in enabling and protecting predators, ensuring the safety and well-being of their patients.