Stephen Speranza/The New York Times

Weill Cornell Medical School announced new patient safety guidelines in a Monday statement.

April 24, 2024

Alleged Widespread Sexual Assault by Former Weill Cornell Urologist Prompts Updated Patient Safety Guidelines

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Editors Note: This article discusses sexual assault in healthcare. 

Over a year after former urologist and Weill Cornell Medicine assistant professor Dr. Darius Paduch was indicted over alleged widespread sexual assault against patients, Weill Cornell unveiled new patient safety guidelines

Paduch, 56, was accused of sexually assaulting dozens of male patients, including several minors, between 2005 and 2018 while he worked at Weill Cornell and in 2019 while he worked at Northwell Health. On April 11, 2023, Paduch was arrested and indicted by a federal grand jury, where he pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

The sexual assault accusations against Paduch include masturbating victims without consent or warning, introducing his fingers in the victims’ rectums without gloves or consent and exposing his genitals to victims to demonstrate masturbation technique, under the guise of medical care. 

In September, another lawsuit was filed accusing Baduch’s former employers, including Weill Cornell Medical Center, of not taking action despite allegedly knowing about his abuse of patients. 

On Monday, April 22, President Martha Pollack and Dr. Robert Harrington, dean of Cornell Weill Medicine, released a joint statement denouncing the alleged behavior from Paduch and announcing new patient safety guidelines. The University’s Office of General Counsel engaged outside counsel to conduct an investigation into Paduch’s conduct, according to the statement. 

“We feel deeply for the survivors and their families. No patient who entrusts us with their care should ever experience such appalling behavior,” the statement read.

The statement describes three changes to current programs offered by the medical center, including an expansion of requirements for the chaperone program. According to Weill Cornell’s website, medical chaperones are trained, objective observers, who are members of the health care team that are present at examinations.  

Many of the instances of alleged sexual abuse occurred when Paduch was interacting with patients unattended, according to the indictment.

According to the Weill Cornell Medicine website, chaperones are required for any vaginal, pelvic or intravaginal exams or procedures, including ultrasounds. Chaperones are also offered for exams involving the external genitalia, breast and/or rectum. Patients over the age of 18 may refuse a medical chaperone.

Training modules and policies related to patient sexual assault were expanded. The statement announced the addition of a new module titled “Allegation of Sexual Misconduct Involving a Patient” and simplified processes for reporting harassment, discrimination and retaliation. 

The Office of Professionalism was also established to ensure individual accountability, communication and mutual respect in educational, research and clinical settings.

There will likely be updates on the Paduch case this week, according to the statement.

A trial for the case is scheduled to begin Wednesday, April 24, Nicholas Biase, a spokesperson from the U.S. Department of Justice, told The Sun.  

Members of the Cornell Community may consult with the Victim Advocate by calling 607-255-1212, and with Cornell Health by calling 607-255-5155. Employees may call the Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) at 607-255-2673. An Ithaca-based Crisisline is available at 607-272-1616. The Tompkins County-based Advocacy Center is available at 607.277.5000. For additional resources, visit