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Gynaecologist who sexually abused over 200 patients jailed for 20 years

A gynaecologist who sexually abused more than 200 patients over the course of two decades has been jailed for 20 years.

Robert Hadden, 64, sobbed in court and expressed his regret for ‘all the pain’ he caused as a New York judge sentenced him to the maximum prison term for his ‘unprecedented’ crimes.

Previously described as a ‘predator in a white coat,’ at least 245 women claimed to have been abused by Hadden during examinations spanning over two decades.

Judge Richard M. Berman said the case was like none he’d seen before and involved ‘outrageous, horrific, beyond extraordinary, depraved sexual abuse.’

Nine of his victims testified at the trial, describing how Hadden molested them during gynaecology treatments, starting in the late 1980s, at prominent hospitals throughout New York.

According to trial testimony, Hadden benefited from the prestige of the hospitals where he worked as he groomed his patients in a private office decorated with pictures of his children as he conversed with them about their personal lives.

But once he had isolated them after a chaperone or nurse left the treatment room, he fondled and probed them with gloveless fingers and sometimes orally.

The judge noted that many patients were particularly vulnerable because they were pregnant, had physical problems, or had never been to another gynaecologist and trusted that Hadden was behaving properly.

Hadden was first accused of misconduct in 2012, and was later arrested in 2014 after 19 individuals made accusations against him.

However, the Manhattan district attorney allowed him to plead guilty to two low-level felonies and a misdemeanour, which stripped him of his medical licence but spared him prison.

Some of the women who had gone to state prosecutors were outraged, but their stories didn’t start receiving public attention until the #MeToo movement began gaining steam in 2017.

Just before the official sentence was announced on Tuesday, Hadden briefly addressed the court and apologised for his crimes, the first and only time he spoke during the trial.

Given his chance to speak, Hadden stood with his hands folded before him and said there was ‘much I’d like to say’ but that he had been advised by lawyers to keep his statement brief.

‘I’m very sorry for all the pain that I have caused,’ the sobbing Hadden said before dropping his head down as he sat again. He then took off his glasses and wiped tears from his eyes.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Kim said Tuesday that Hadden still had not accepted responsibility for his crimes.

Several dozen of Hadden’s accusers were in the courtroom for his sentencing and some of them spoke outside the courthouse afterward, sharing their emotions with reporters and one another. Among them was Liz Hall, who said she found Hadden’s expression of regret hollow.

‘That was not an apology. He has shown zero remorse or empathy. I think he’s incapable,’ she said.

Hall said she hoped the sentence would give other victims of sexual abuse courage to speak out.

Prosecutors welcomed the judge’s announcement, which marked the conclusion of a decades-long legal battle to seek justice for Hadden’s victims.

‘We thank and commend the victims who bravely came forward to share their stories and ensure that their abuser faces justice,’ said US attorney Damian Williams in a statement on Tuesday.

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