Andrew Yang's wife Evelyn says she was sexually assaulted by her gynecologist while pregnant

Evelyn Yang

CNN

Evelyn Yang speaking to CNN on Thursday.

  • Evelyn Yang, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, told CNN she was sexually assaulted by her OB-GYN while she was pregnant.
  • Yang said she decided to speak publicly after seeing the support she and her husband had received while speaking about their son's autism on the campaign trail.
  • Yang said she did not immediately tell her husband, but did so after learning that another patient had accused the doctor, Columbia University's Robert Hadden, of sexual abuse.
  • Hadden pled guilty to forcible touching and a criminal sex act in 2016, leading him to lose his license. He has been registered as a sex offender but not serve jail time.
  • Yang and at least 31 other women are suing Columbia University, saying it "actively concealed, conspired, and enabled" Hadden.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Evelyn Yang, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, said that she was sexually assaulted by her OB-GYN while pregnant with her first child.

In a CNN interview published Thursday, Yang accused Dr. Robert Hadden of Columbia University of multiple such assaults in 2012. One particularly harrowing occasion, she said, took place in her seventh month of pregnancy.

Yang said she had been afraid to tell anyone about the alleged assault at the time, but decided to speak out publicly after receiving positive responses from the public when she and her husband spoke about their son's autism while campaigning.

"Something about being on the trail and meeting people and seeing the difference that we've been making already has moved me to share my own story about it, about sexual assault," she said in the emotional interview.

Yang said there was mostly no one else in the gynecological examinations, and that Hadden "started with inappropriate questions around how intimate I was with my husband, sexual activity, just very inappropriate probing questions that were unrelated to my health."

Evelyn Yang New Hampshire 2020

Anthony Fisher/Insider

Evelyn Yang campaigning on behalf of her husband Andrew in New Hampshire on January 9, 2020.

She said the "examinations became longer, more frequent, and I learned that they were unnecessary most of the time."

"Most women don't know what you're supposed to get when you're pregnant," she added.

Yang added that she initially did not tell Andrew, and only did so after learning later that another patient had reported him for sexual abuse.

"I feel like I put up with some inappropriate behavior that I didn't know at the time was straight-up sexual abuse-slash-sexual assault until much later," she said.

Watch the interview with CNN's Dana Bash here:

Yang and at least 31 other women are currently suing Columbia University, saying the university "actively concealed, conspired, and enabled" Hadden. Both Evelyn and Andrew Yang had studied at Columbia University.

Hadden pleaded guilty in 2016 to charges involving two of his accusers at the time: one count of forcible touching, and one count of criminal sex act in the third degree. Eighteen women had accused him of sexual asssault at the time.

His plea deal meant he had to give up his license, and register as a sex offender. However, he did not have to serve any jail time.

Robert Hadden

Jefferson Siegel/NY Daily News via Getty Images

Robert Hadden at the Manhattan Supreme Court in September 2014.

In 2018, 17 more women came forward with claims that they had been sexually abused by Hadden.

They filed a separate lawsuit against various hospitals and clinics affiliated with Columbia University, claiming that the staff had been aware of Hadden's alleged abuse for decades before he was charged in 2014. More women later joined the lawsuit.

Yang was critical of Hadden's 2016 punishment, telling CNN: "It's like getting slapped in the face and punched in the gut."

"The DA's office is meant to protect us, is meant to serve justice, and there was no justice here," she added, referring to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. The same office had been lenient with accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and initially failed to prosecute accusations against Harvey Weinstein.

Andrew Yang

AP Photo/John Locher

Andrew Yang.

'I love my wife very very much'

Evelyn Yang told CNN her husband "cried" when she told him of the assault, adding: "He felt terrible for me, and I think that's what I was trying to prevent by not telling him in the first place."

In a statement published by CNN, Andrew Yang said: "My heart breaks every time I think of what she had to experienc ... I hope that Evelyn's story gives strength to those who have suffered and sends a clear message that our institutions must do more to protect and respond to women."

The presidential candidate also tweeted on Thursday night: "I love my wife very very much."

Columbia University told CNN that they "deeply apologize to those whose trust was violated," and called Hadden's alleged actions as "abhorrent." 

If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visit their website to receive confidential support.

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