Columbia University Faces Restraining Order for Alleged ‘Catch and Kill’ Scheme on Sex Abuse Survivors, Lawyer Claims

New York, NY – Columbia University has been issued a restraining order by a New York Supreme Court judge following allegations of a “catch and kill” scheme involving sexual abuse survivors of former OB/GYN Robert Hadden. The order comes after attorney Anthony T. DiPietro, representing over 500 of Hadden’s victims, accused the university of attempting to silence and deceive survivors.

DiPietro stated, “Columbia was trying to catch unsuspecting, unrepresented women, and then overreach them to lock them up in a nondisclosure order.” He emphasized the importance of holding Columbia accountable for their actions and providing justice for the victims.

In November, Columbia University Irving Medical Center announced plans to inform Hadden’s nearly 6,500 former patients about his sex-trafficking conviction and subsequent 20-year prison sentence. The university also committed to hiring an independent investigator to examine how Hadden’s abuse went unchecked for almost two decades.

Additionally, victims were given the option to apply for settlement payouts from a fund administered by a neutral third party. However, DiPietro criticized the university for providing misleading information about the deadline to file a case, stating that New York laws prevent statutes of limitations from ending on holidays or weekends.

DiPietro highlighted alternative legal avenues for the victims, including causes of action for fraud and New York’s Gender Motivated Violence Act, which don’t expire until 2025. He urged survivors to pursue justice against Columbia University for their alleged cover-up.

The restraining order now prohibits Columbia from communicating with any Hadden patients or potential class members. While the university did not answer questions regarding the “catch and kill” scheme, they did acknowledge and welcome the temporary order, emphasizing their commitment to a survivor-centered and comprehensive accountability plan.

The article does not specify whether Columbia is considering avenues to overturn the restraining order. Hadden, who also worked at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, was convicted in January 2023 and later in July following a federal trial on four counts of enticing women to travel across state lines for his abusive purposes.

The court described Hadden’s conduct as “exceptional and unprecedented,” “shocking in the extreme,” “horrific,” and “depraved.” Hadden had previously struck a plea deal in a separate state case, resulting in no jail sentence for sexually abusing six patients.

DiPietro denounced the abuse survivors’ suffering and emphasized that Columbia, as an Ivy League institution, should not protect a serial sexual predator. As the case unfolds, it remains to be seen whether Columbia will take steps to challenge the restraining order.