Victims’ Rights Advocate Marissa Hoechstetter | Connecting Point | Feb. 25, 2020


>>>ROBERT HADDEN WAS STRIPPED
OF HIS MEDICAL LICENSE BUT SERVED NO PRISON TIME AFTER
PLEADING GUILTY TO A CRIMINAL SEXUAL ACT IN 2016. MARISSA HOECHSTETTER, A
NORTHAMPTON RESIDENT, WAS THE FIRST WOMAN TO PUBLICLY ACCUSE
HIM OF SEXUAL ASSAULT. BUT WHEN SHE RAISED THOSE
CONCERNS TO MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY CY VANCE, SHE SAID SHE
WAS LARGELY BRUSHED ASIDE. HOECHSTETTER HAS LED A CAMPAIGN
TO UNSEAT VANCE, CALLED REFORM THE SEX CRIMES UNIT, WHICH SHE
SPOKE WITH ME ABOUT IN THE STUDIO.>>AS SOMEONE HARMED BY THE
DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE IN MANHATTAN, I REALLY FELT
COMPELLED TO SHARE MY STORY. AND REVEAL A PATTERN OF BEHAVIOR
BY THAT OFFICE OF GIVING PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT TO
WEALTHY CONNECTED PERPETRATORS. SINCE I’M NOT ANONYMOUS AND MY
NAME AND STORY IS OUT THERE I HEAR FROM WOMEN ALMOST DAILY WHO
HAVE ENCOUNTERED CHALLENGES REPORTING SEX CRIMES, EITHER TO
THAT OFFICE OR OTHER OFFICES ACROSS THE COUNTRY. AND I’M REALLY COMMITTED TO
MAKING SURE THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT TAKES THESE ALLEGATIONS AND
REPORTS SERIOUSLY.>>I SHOULD SAY JUST ON BURL
THAT DISTRICT ATTORNEY VANCE AS SAID, DISAGREES WITH YOUR
PERSPECTIVE THAT THIS WAS SOMETHING THAT WAS EXTENDED TO
WEALTHY PRIVILEGED PEOPLE. THEY THINK THAT THERE’S BEEN NO
WRONGDOING IN RECORD TO YOUR SPECIFIC CASE OR WOMEN WHO ARE
HARMED BY FORMER DR. HADDEN, SO
THAT’S THE D.A.’S PERSPECTIVE. I SAW ON YOUR WEBSITE THAT YOU
HAVE SAID THAT THIS, WHEN YOU CHOSE TO REPORT THE SEXUAL ABUSE
THAT YOU WERE SUBJECTED TO TO THE D.A.’S OFFICE IN 2015, THAT
CHOICE CHANGED THE COURSE OF YOUR LIFE. YOU HADN’T BEEN AN ADVOCATE
BEFORE WHAT HAPPENED?>>CORRECT. I ADVOCATED GENERALLY FOR ISSUES
RELATED THE FEMINISM AND WOMEN’S EXPERIENCE GENERALLY. BUT I CONSIDER IT REALLY
POSITION OF PRIVILEGE THAT I HAD NOT HAD TO HAVE AN ENCOUNTER
WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT OR REALLY HAD TO DEAL WITH THESE ISSUES. I REALLY WENT FORWARD TO THAT
OFFICE BELIEVING THAT I WAS DOING THE RIGHT THING. AND THAT SOMEONE WOULD SUPPORT
ME. I WAS TOLD THAT THEY BELIEVED
ME, BUT THEY DID NOT ACT UPON MY ACCUSATION THEN REALLY A LOT
MORE BECAME REVEALED TO ME OVER TIME, CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS,
PARTS OF THELY DEAL THAT WE’VE TAKEN GREAT ISSUE WITH. SO IT DID CHANGE MY LIFE. I’VE NOW COMMITTED TO THIS
ADVOCACY. I SPEND A LOT OF TIME AND MY OWN
MONEY AND MANAGE REALLY COMMITTED TO LEARNING AND TO
MAKING REFORM. THIS IS ABOUT MY PERSONAL STORY,
BUT ALSO ABOUT MAKING REFORM TO HELP OTHER WOMEN.>>TO YOUR POINT ABOUT REFORM, A
LAW HAS RECENTLY BEEN ENACTED IN NEW YORK CITY SPECIFICALLY, THAT
WOULD REDACT — THAT REDACTS THE NAMES OF CARE PROVIDERS WHO HAD
THEIR MEDICAL LICENSE REVOKED. THIS WAS THE CASE ON YOUR
DAUGHTER, YOUR TWINS’ BIRTH CERTIFICATE THAT NAME IS NOW
REDACTED FROM THAT DOCUMENT. WHEN I LOOKED AT MY OWN
MASSACHUSETTS BIRTH CREDIT I DID NOT HAVE A DOCTOR’S NAME —
>>MASSACHUSETTS DOES NOT LIST IT.>>UNIQUE TO NEW YORK CITY.>>NEW YORK STATE AND ACTUALLY A
BILL IS BEFORE THE — IT’S PASSED THE ASSEMBLY IN FRONT OF
THE SENATE IN NEW YORK STATE. THE INFORMATION IS THERE, NOT
FOR ANY LEGAL PURPOSE, IT SIMPLY SAYS NAME OF ATTENDANT AT
DELIVERY. AND I REALLY FELT THIS PERSON
DID NOT GET TO REMAIN IN POSITION OF PRIVILEGE IN MY
LIFE, MY DAUGHTERS’ LIVES AND I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE
ADMINISTRATIVE FIX TO SIMPLY REMOVE IT BECAUSE IT’S NOT —
SERVES NO PURPOSE. WE ENDED UP HAVING TO LEGISLATE
IT. I THINK IT SAYS LOT ABOUT HOW AS
SOCIETY WE GIVE DOCTORS THIS INCREDIBLE REFERENCE AND
POSITION OF PRIVILEGE, THAT IS SOMETHING THAT THEY ARE THEN
ABLE TO USE AGAINST US AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF AS A PATIENT ALONE
IN A ROOM WITH A DOCTOR WHO ABUSES A PATIENT AND TAKES
ADVANTAGE THAT HAVE POSITION THEY HAVE.>>WERE YOU SURPRISED LEARN
DIFFERENCES STATE TO STATE, WHY ONE STATE WOULD FEEL IT WAS
IMPORTANT TO HAVE A DOCTOR’S NAME ON A BIRTH CREDIT BUT
ANOTHER WONT?>>IT’S SO MANY THINGS LIKE THAT
ARE STATE BY STATE. THE CRIMES AGAINST ME, HOW THEY
ARE CATEGORIZED IN NEW YORK STATE VERSUS HOW THEY WOULD HAVE
BEEN CATEGORIZED IN MASSACHUSETTS ARE DIFFERENT. THE STATUTES OF LIMITATION THAT
WOULD ALLOW CRIMINAL OR CIVIL ACTION ARE DIFFERENT. I THINK MANY ADVOCATES, YOU RUN
UP AGAINST THAT WHEN YOU START ADVOCATING AND TRYING TO
UNDERSTAND WHAT RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE TO YOU. STATUTES OF LIMITATION AND
DEFINITIONS OF SEX CRIMES ARE VERY CONFUSING. AND OFTEN VERY NUANCED AND HARD
TO UNDERSTAND, SO YOU AS A VICTIM TRYING TO FIGURE OUT
REALLY EVEN WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU CAN SOMETIMES BE REALLY
DIFFICULT.>>I SHOULD SAY THAT YOU
CURRENTLY LIVE IN NORTHAMPTON AT THE TIME YOU DID LIVE IN
NEW YORK, WERE A RESIDENT OF NEW YORK CITY. SOMETHING ELSE, YOU’VE WRITTEN
FOR MS. MAGAZINE WITH PROFESSOR
CAREY BAKER WHO HAS BEEN ON THE PROGRAM BEFORE. ONE OF THE TOPICS THAT YOU
COVERED LOOKED AT THE FACT THAT IT’S NOT MANDATORY FOR A SECOND
PERSON TO BE IN A ROOM OBSERVING IF A WOMAN IS AT THE
GYNECOLOGIST. I WAS SURPRISED BY THAT. I FEEL LIKE WHEN I THINK BACK ON
MY EXAMINATIONS I’VE ALWAYS HAD A SECOND PERSON IN THERE. THAT’S NOT MANDATED BY LAW TO
HAVE THAT SECOND PERSON OBSERVING?>>IT DEPENDS, AGAIN, SOME TIMES
IN SOME HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS WILL HAVE THEIR OWN POLICIES AND
PROCEDURES THAT WILL REQUIRE THAT. I THINK ACOG THE PROFESSIONAL
ORGANIZATION OF OBSTETRICIANS AND GYNECOLOGISTS THEY REDID
THEIR RECOMMENDATIONS TO INCLUDE THAT. ONE THING I WOULD SAY ABOUT THAT
IS THAT HAVING A PERSON IN THE ROOM DOES NOT STOP THE ABUSE
FROM HAPPENING. SO IT’S SURELY A BARRIER AND CAN
BE HELPFUL TO PROTECT YOU. AND AS A PATIENT, IT IS WELL
WITHIN YOUR RIGHTS TO REQUEST THAT SOMEONE ELSE BE THERE
EITHER A NURSE OR ANOTHER STAFF MEMBER OR FAMILY MEMBER. BUT I THINK IF WE LEARNED
ANYTHING FROM SAY THE NASSER CASE IN MICHIGAN.>>FORMER DR. LARRY NASSER.>>THERE WERE PARENTS IN THE
ROOM. PEOPLE IN THE ROOM. IT’S QUICK TO SAY THAT THAT
WOULD SOLVE THE PROBLEM AND IT SURELY CAN HELP. WE WANT TO PROTECT PEOPLE. BUT IT’S NOT THE ONLY THING.>>SOMETHING ELSE YOU WROTE, I
WAS FRANKLY SHOCKED BY THIS. IT’S NOT MANDATORY THAT SEX
CRIMES BY A HEALTH CARE WORKER BE REPORTED AS CRIMINAL
BEHAVIOR? YOU WROTE THAT IN 2019, IS THAT
STILL TRUE?>>IT DEPENDS. THERE’S MANDATED REPORTING SO I
KNOW THE MOST ABOUT NEW YORK STATE. IF A PEER OR ADMINISTRATOR
BELIEVES THAT THERE WAS INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR THERE’S
MANDATED REPORTING TO SAY THE STATE MEDICAL BOARD, NOT
NECESSARILY TO LAW ENFORCEMENT BUT THE STATE MEDICAL BOARD. BUT THERE’S NO PENALTY FOR NOT
DOING SO. SO YOU SEE TIME AND AGAIN, THIS
IS PART OF WHAT IS BEING REVEALED IN OUR CIVIL LAWSUIT
AGAINST MY ABUSER’S EMPLOYER, THAT THEY KNEW, THERE WERE
ALLEGATIONS DATING BACK FOR DECADES BUT THEY HAVE NO
INCENTIVE TO REPORT THAT. I THINK IT’S A PROBLEM. AND BECAUSE MEDICINE IS SO
UNIQUE AND THERE ARE OFTEN LEGITIMATE REASONS FOR SOMEONE’S
HANDS TO BE ON OR IN YOUR BODY, WE GIVE THE DEFERENCE TO THE
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. MOST CASES OF SEXUAL ASSAULT IN
MEDICINE YOU END UP SEEING THEM RESOLVED UNDER MEDICAL
MALPRACTICE. IT’S MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
ATTORNEYS THAT WILL PURSUE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFTEN DOES NOT
BELIEVE THE SURVIVORS, WHICH IS BASICALLY WHAT WE SAW IN OUR
CASE. IT’S COMPLICATED BUT THERE ARE
MANY LOOPHOLES THAT ALLOW PEOPLE TO NOT APPRECIATE IT AS A SEX
CRIME IN THE WAY YOU MIGHT IF YOU SAID YOU WERE RAPED ON THE
STREET BY A STRANGER.>>SOMETHING ELSE THAT YOU’VE
ADVOCATED FOR IS THAT WOMEN REALLY KNOW THEIR OWN RIGHTS AND
UNDERSTAND THEM TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY. I HEARD YOU ALSO SAY THAT
SOMETIMES THAT’S LEGALESE AND COMPLICATED. WOULD YOU SUGGEST THAT WOMEN, IF
THERE IS A QUESTION TO RAISE IT AT THAT TIME. TO JUST RAISE THAT QUESTION.>>YES. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. TRUST RED FLAGS. IN MY OWN EXPERIENCE LOOKING
BACK THERE WERE NUMBER OF RED FLAGS THAT WERE REALLY GROOMING
BEHAVIOR, BOUNDARY TESTING, INAPPROPRIATE QUESTIONS. A DOCTOR SHOULD NEVER BE DOING
SOMETHING TO YOUR BODY THAT THEY CAN’T EXPLAIN AND THEY SHOULD BE
EXPLAINING IT WHILE THEY’RE DOING IT. IF THEY NEED TO TOUCH YOU
SOMEWHERE, WHY AND FOR WHAT PURPOSE. AGAIN, IT’S A LITTLE BIT OF
POSITION OF PRIVILEGE TO SAY JUST DON’T GO BACK AND GO SEE
SOMEONE ELSE. MANY PEOPLE ARE NOT IN THAT
POSITION, RIGHT? THEY HAVE —
>>INSURANCE MIGHT PROHIBIT IT.>>THEY HAVE TO BE SOMEWHERE. DEFINITELY REPORT. ONE THING THAT I THINK IS
IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT IS STATE MEDICAL BOARD IS
A RESOURCE, OFTEN THERE’S NO STATUTE. YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO DEAL WITH
LAW ENFORCEMENT, BUT STATE MEDICAL BOARDS ARE REQUIRED TO
INVESTIGATE ANY ACCUSATION, OBVIOUSLY — OFTEN THERE’S NO
STATUTE FOR DOING THAT. SO THAT’S A RESOURCE FOR PEOPLE
WHO MIGHT WANT TO JUST MAKE SURE THAT THIS PERSON DOESN’T
CONTINUE TO PRACTICE. THERE ARE OTHER RESOURCES
AVAILABLE FOR PEOPLE.>>”THE NEW YORK TIMES” RECENTLY
REPORTED MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY, CY VANCE HAS OPENED AN
INVESTIGATION INTO NEW ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE BY ROBERT
HADDEN. MARISSA HOECHESTETTER SAID SHE
AGREED WITH THE MOVE BUT SHE AND OTHERS WHO HAVE RAISED DOUBTS
ABOUT VANCE’S COMPETANCE HAVE CALLED ON NEW YORK GOVERNOR,
ANDREW CUOMO, TO APPOINT A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR TO HANDLE THE
CASE.

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