Columbia University has been slapped with a restraining order by a New York Supreme Cout judge after engaging in what has been described as a “catch and kill” scheme involving sexual abuse survivors of disgraced OB/GYN Robert Hadden.
Anthony T. DiPietro, who represents more than 500 of Hadden’s victims told The Post “Columbia was trying to catch unsuspecting, unrepresented women, and then overreach them to lock them up in a nondisclosure order.
“Former patients of Robert Hadden have the right to hold Columbia University accountable for what they’ve done,” he said.
“Columbia provided completely misleading information about the session limitations, completely misleading information about what options patients had at this point, in terms of being able to proceed with a lawsuit in court if they chose to do that, and a judge shut it down.”
In November, the Ivy League school and Columbia University Irving Medical Center announced that they’ll notify Hadden’s nearly 6,500 former patients about his sex-trafficking conviction and July sentencing to 20 years in prison.
As part of its reckoning, the university also said it would be hiring a neutral investigator to probe how Hadden’s abuse was allowed to continue unchecked for nearly two decades.
Beginning in January, victims were also able to apply for settlement payouts from the fund — to be decided by a neutral administrator.
DiPietro said the letter “provided misleading information about the deadline to file a case” stating that the window closed on Thanksgiving. New York laws state that you can’t end a statute of limitations on a holiday or weekend.
He went on to add that the letter “failed to tell people their path to justice” aside from the New York Adult Survivors Act.
“There are other causes of action, right? There’s a cause of action for fraud that doesn’t start to run in New York until people discover the fraud, there’s also New York’s Gender Motivated Violence Act which doesn’t close until February of 2025,” he explained.
“People have a whole year to pursue a case against Columbia University for this cover up,” he went on.
“Columbia was trying to track women that didn’t have lawyers, try to convince them to not file a case in court, and to participate in this opaque settlement scheme that would allow Columbia sole control over what happens.”
Columbia is now barred from having any further communication with any Hadden patients, victims, survivors or putative class members.
A Columbia University Irving Medical Center spokesperson did not answer a series of questions regarding the alleged “catch and kill scheme.”
They instead pointed to the plan laid out in November but acknowledged and welcomed the temporary order.
“Columbia launched a survivor-centered, comprehensive plan to ensure accountability, prevent future harm, and support survivors, and we appreciate the court issuing this temporary order that helps this plan move forward,” the spokesman said in a statement to The Post.
It remains unclear whether Columbia is looking at avenues to overturn the restraining order.
Hadden, 64, was convicted in January 2023 and later in July convicted following a Manhattan federal trial on four counts of enticing women to travel across state lines so he could abuse them.
He said he was “very sorry” for his abuse and cried when a judge handed down his sentence.
The court described the defendant’s conduct as “exceptional and unprecedented,” “shocking in the extreme,” “horrific,” and “depraved.”
Hadden struck a plea deal with Manhattan prosecutors in a separate state case and got off with a no-jail sentence in 2016 for sexually abusing six patients.
Hadden — who also worked at New York-Presbyterian Hospital — started in his profession in 1987 and continued until 2012.
“These women shouldn’t have to walk around for the rest of their lives suffering in silence thinking that they did anything wrong, they did nothing wrong,” DiPietro said.
“This was a serial sexual predator that has been protected by an Ivy League institution.”