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Lawmakers, survivors demand Columbia University launch probe into convicted OB-GYN Robert Hadden

Columbia University accused of protecting Robert Hadden, covering up sex abuse
Columbia University accused of protecting Robert Hadden, covering up sex abuse 02:14

NEW YORK -- Elected officials were at Columbia University on Tuesday demanding to know why the school hasn't investigated one of its former gynecologists who was convicted of sexually assaulting hundreds of patients.

The demonstrators, including dozens of sexual abuse survivors, marched onto the campus to deliver a message.

"(We are) calling for accountability over the abuses that the former university allowed to happen," Assembly member Grace Lee said.

FLASHBACKFormer NYC gynecologist accused of sexually abusing patients now facing federal charges

Lee presented a letter to Columbia's chief of staff, who agreed to pass it on to the school's president. Signed by 36 elected officials, it demands the university launch an investigation into how former gynecologist Robert Hadden was able to sexually abuse hundreds of patients for more than 25 years.

"I was assaulted by Robert Hadden, and when I was pregnant with my twin daughters, who are now 12, I was assaulted at a postpartum visit, and I never went back," survivor and advocate Marissa Hoechstetter said.

"I called 911 in 2012 at my postpartum appointment. He was arrested. They vacated the arrest, and they let him practice medicine. That stands the hair on my arms up. It's unfathomable that they would put a predator back in the office," survivor and advocate Laurie Kanyok added.

READ MOREN.Y. judge jails ex-gynecologist who abused hundreds of women: "Predator in a white coat"

Court documents show in 2016, Hadden surrendered his medical license, but avoided prison time at the state level as part of a plea deal. This past July, a judge sentenced the 64-year-old to 20 years in prison.

Survivors say, despite the conviction, Columbia never notified patients about the physician's loss of medical license and history of abuse since the late 1980s.

Demonstrators say their calls are especially timely, because the clock is ticking on the Adult Survivors Act.

"The Adult Survivors Act is a one year look-back window that is open through Nov. 23 of this year, and gives people one year to bring civil litigation against an individual or institution that allowed or enabled sexual assaults," Hoechstetter said.

For the next 30 days, advocates plan to continue to apply pressure, so that all potential victims have a chance for justice before the Nov. 23 deadline.

CBS New York reached out to Columbia University for comment, but is still waiting to hear back.

Last year, Columbia agreed to $165 million settlement with 147 former patients of Hadden.

Attorneys say this month 300 additional women filed a suit against Columbia.

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