NEW YORK - A gynecologist accused of molesting hundreds of patients during a decades-long career has faced threats and extortion in a federal jail by other inmates who know he was convicted of sex crimes, his lawyers said Tuesday in asking that he be sentenced to three years in prison, far less than the decades he could be forced to serve.
Robert Hadden, 64, of Englewood, New Jersey, has been targeted in part because people at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn falsely believe he is a child molester, the lawyers wrote in a presentence submission in Manhattan federal court.
Hadden was convicted in January after a two-week trial in which nine former patients told of being abused sexually during examinations when they were most vulnerable. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 24, though victims will be permitted to make statements on June 28.
Since the trial, Hadden "has been repeatedly threatened with violence and forced to hand over his commissary items, from food to stamps, or be beaten up. He goes through each day in fear, trying to stay in his cell as much as possible, coming out only for showers and family phone calls," his lawyers said.
The lawyers said he was trying to cope with the jail conditions through religious activities and by tutoring other inmates.
Hadden's conviction in federal court on four counts of enticing victims to cross state lines so he could sexually abuse them carries a potential penalty of decades in prison.
In 2016, Hadden pleaded guilty in state court to allegations involving a smaller number of women than the charges in federal court. His plea deal with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office required him to surrender his medical license but didn’t require any jail time.
Hadden worked at two prestigious Manhattan hospitals — Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital — until complaints about his attacks shut down his career a decade ago. The institutions have agreed to pay more than $236 million to settle civil claims by more than 200 former patients.
At trial, Hadden’s lawyers did not contest his molestation of patients. They said his state court plea covered those crimes and that federal charges alleging patients from New Jersey and Nevada crossed state lines to be sexually abused were inappropriate since he didn’t know where they came from.
A message left with the Bureau of Prisons for comment was not immediately returned.
A spokesperson for federal prosecutors, who will file their presentence submission at a later date, declined comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.