WASHINGTON — Evelyn Yang, the wife of 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang, is alleging that she was sexually assaulted during her first pregnancy by a doctor who has since lost his license.
In an interview that aired on CNN on Thursday night, Yang said she was assaulted by her OB-GYN in 2012, claiming the doctor's abuse "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."
Yang said the "examinations became longer, more frequent, and I learned that they were unnecessary most of the time." She said that there would be nobody else in the rooms during her exams.
Yang said her OB-GYN was Columbia University Dr. Robert Hadden, who has been accused by multiple women of assault. Through a plea deal, Hadden gave up his license and was registered as a Level 1 sex offender after pleading guilty to one account of forcible touching and a third-degree sexual assault in 2016. He was not jailed. CNN also reported that Hadden's attorneys denied the accusations in court documents and that an attorney did not grant a request for an interview.
The presidential candidate's wife told CNN she was among the women who waged a legal battle against the doctor but fought to do so anonymously.
Yang described hearing about the plea deal as "getting slapped in the face."
"The DA's office is meant to protect us, is meant to serve justice, and there was no justice here," she said.
Yang decided to tell her story, she said, after being on the campaign trail with her husband and talking with other survivors.
"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," Yang said. "Everyone has their own #MeToo story. It's far too prevalent. But not everyone can tell their story. Not everyone has the audience or platform to tell their story, and I actually feel like I'm in this very privileged position to be able to do that."
Yang told CNN's Dana Bash that her husband "cried" when she told him about the assault.
"He felt terrible for me, and I think that's what I was trying to prevent by not telling him in the first place," she said, adding that she kept it from her husband because she was afraid he'd blame himself for traveling often during the pregnancies and being unable to go to appointments.
As the interview aired, the Democratic candidate tweeted, "I love my wife very very much." He released a longer statement to CNN about the potential impact of his wife's story.
“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," he said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Evelyn Yang, Andrew Yang's wife, says doctor sexually assaulted her