Why didn’t anyone stop Doctor Hardy?
In college and in his medical practice, Roger Hardy left a long trail of women who said he abused them.
On a spring day in 1992, a young doctor was walking down the polished corridors of Brigham and Women’s Hospital when she noticed a display of photos introducing new medical fellows. She stopped short.
Staring at her was a face from the past. Roger Hardy, a pre-med classmate from her Princeton days. She recalled the whispers about him, of sexual misconduct and complaints to college officials. Two friends of hers had said that he had assaulted them, one in her dorm room.
Now Hardy was joining an elite program at the Brigham to hone his skills as a gynecologist specializing in fertility treatment. She knew she had to do something.
She warned her female colleagues to use caution around Hardy, and over the next two years, twice spoke to her supervisors about the dark side of this new medical fellow. But there were no reported incidents during his Brigham tenure, the hospital says, and Hardy would go on to complete the two-year fellowship, secure solid recommendations, and join a private fertility practice north of Boston.
About two decades passed. The doctor who sounded the alarm could only hope that her fears had been needless.
They weren’t. In late 2013 her phone rang and the caller had a question: Is it true you know something about Dr. Hardy’s behavior back at Princeton?
The Massachusetts medical licensing board had launched an investigation of Hardy based on complaints of inappropriate sexual contact with two patients — the investigation that would lead, ultimately, to the public exposure of allegations against Hardy going back decades, and his decision to surrender his medical license last year.
The legal process continues, with criminal prosecution of Hardy still a possibility. And a host of haunting questions remain, especially this one: How could behavior like Hardy’s have continued so long, unexposed, unstopped, unpunished?
So many could have intervened, but did not or did too little.
The Globe found that, over three decades, more than a dozen people in positions of authority — college administrators, hospital supervisors, clinic owners, medical colleagues, and regulators — were told, with various degrees of specificity, of Hardy’s alleged sexual assaults and his inappropriate contact with patients, including some who were sedated.
From Hardy’s days at Princeton forward, the response to nearly every complaint was minimal or passive, an examination of state documents and interviews with dozens of Hardy’s classmates, colleagues, and patients shows. Sometimes, especially in his Princeton years, this was because his alleged victims were reluctant to go public with formal complaints. Sometimes, especially as Hardy built his practice, little or nothing was done because of reluctance by his peers or supervisors to move against an increasingly prominent physician who seemed to have a way to explain away each accusation.
Hardy has, through it all, declared his innocence. He maintained during the board investigation — and does to this day — that he was a victim of a misunderstanding or the target of competitors trying to financially harm him.
But others tell a different story, of a man who for years received the benefit of the doubt from those in charge, who has left behind numerous women whose memories of his actions remain fresh and painful, and who is now enjoying a comfortable life abroad despite a pattern of brazen behavior that began long ago, soon after he left Kansas to join the Ivy League.
Roger Ian Hardy arrived on the Princeton campus in the fall of 1977, a bright and ambitious 18-year-old who was just starting to fill out his lanky six-foot frame. He was one of seven children from a well-to-do family in which medicine played a major role; his father was an anesthesiologist and his mother trained as a nurse.
The Princeton community that Hardy joined was steeped in tradition and relatively new to coeducation — the first women students had arrived less than a decade earlier and were outnumbered by men 2 to 1. Relations between the sexes could be challenging — pornographic films, for example, were still sometimes shown by undergraduate organizations at fund-raisers. Sexual misdeeds were rarely reported or discussed; the era when campus sexual assault would make headlines across the nation was still far in the future.
Outside the classroom, Hardy’s early focus was on singing and acting in college dramas. He is remembered as one who avoided the hard-drinking party scene. Some classmates recalled him as handsome and studious — and occasionally as a good-natured prankster — but few seemed to know him well. Hardy appears to have collected few close friends in college and his early romantic encounters seemed to end badly, according to acquaintances.
Hardy’s freshman-year roommate, Raymond Hinson, says he saw him as a Midwestern private school graduate with a sense of arrogance and entitlement, especially in his dealings with women. He said he never liked him, and cut off contact after freshman year.
“I believe he had an inborn sense of who’s on top and who’s not,” said Hinson, now a physician in New York City.
■ ■ ■ Hardy’s behavior seemed to take a more sinister turn in his sophomore year,
a shift most vividly documented in statements provided to Massachusetts state investigators last year by a Princeton alumna — now a doctor in her 50s — who recalls him creeping into her room one autumn night.
Hours earlier, this 19-year-old woman and Hardy had been hanging out with a group of friends in a dorm suite. Hardy had been behaving oddly all evening, she said, razzing her about her relationship with her boyfriend and asking “if she was a virgin,” according to her interview with the board. As the evening wore on, everyone in the group went their separate ways.
The woman returned to her room alone, but later woke up in bed sensing that someone was kissing her. It was, she said, Roger Hardy.
She resisted him.
“You know how you want it,” he said, according to her account to the board.
When she threatened to scream, he said he would tell everyone in the dorm that she had invited him in.
The two had sex, over the woman’s objections. After Hardy left, she recounted, she felt “so ashamed.” The coed kept the sexual assault largely to herself, though she told some close friends at Princeton, including the woman who would, years later, be shocked by Hardy’s photo as she walked down the halls of the Brigham.
The Globe does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault; the Brigham doctor requested anonymity because she said publicizing her name could indirectly identify the victim. She declined to be interviewed by the Globe, and her account of Hardy was taken from state records. The Globe sued the state board to obtain the victim’s full account, much of which has never been reported, and those of other witnesses.
Some weeks after the incident involving the 19-year-old, Hardy’s name would emerge again in reference to a complaint of sexual assault, this time triggering the first report about him to school officials, according to the accounts of two former students speaking out now for the first time.
A campus athlete from Princeton was in his dorm room, preparing for his upcoming math finals, when a classmate from a nearby room entered, furious, saying he had just received a visit from a sobbing female student from nearby Westminster Choir College. The woman had told him that Hardy, with whom she was on a first date, had tried to force her to have sex.
“He attacked her and felt entitled to have sex,” the former college athlete recalled, an account that was confirmed by another Princeton classmate interviewed by the Globe who witnessed the Westminster student’s distress.
The athlete had two close female friends who had briefly and unhappily dated Hardy; he had had an image of him as just a callous playboy.
But an allegation of attempted sexual assault was a different story.
That night, as he recently recalled to the Globe, he went to the Princeton security office and told an officer what the woman had told him, and named Hardy. He said he later spoke to someone at the dean’s office, again naming Hardy. He does not recall the names of the officials that he spoke to. As he recalled, the male official from the dean’s office said he would investigate, but that it was key that the woman come forward with her complaint.
The student said he later decided to do his own digging, and reached out to the two women who had dated Hardy to see if his behavior had really crossed the line into sexual assault.
“Is this true?” he remembers asking them.
He recalled the conversations as embarrassing and difficult. But he said their answers came down to one word: Yes.
“That’s when we realized this wasn’t a one-off thing,” recalled the student, who asked not to be named because doing so could indirectly identify some of Hardy’s alleged victims.
He said the Westminster student and the two Princeton women declined to speak to the dean’s office, preferring to bury their memories and move on. He never heard how or if the dean’s office pursued the matter, but his concerns about Hardy continued to weigh on him.
The Princeton dean of student affairs from 1977 to 1983 was John Anderson Brown. In an interview with the Globe, he said he does not specifically recall Hardy’s name as having been linked with a
“We had a couple of instances during my eight years where there may have been one person accusing another of rape or inappropriate sexual conduct,” he said. “I don’t think this was one of those cases, but I don’t recall.”
By his senior year, Hardy had gained some stature on campus, serving as president of the Princeton Premedical Society, as a resident adviser, and acting in several campus theatrical productions.
There were, however, still signs of the other Roger Hardy.
He had, for example, alienated some peers in the theater world, including some who witnessed his treatment of one freshman, Tina Dockstader, who had been cast as his love interest in a play. She told the Globe that during rehearsals for one scene calling for a chaste peck, he repeatedly tried to aggressively French kiss her, despite her strong objections, and backed down only when she begged him. “That’s better,” he said, as she vividly recalled.
Around this time, Hardy also became involved in the school’s Sexuality Education Counseling and Health Program, a group formed shortly after Princeton went coed.
When one Princeton woman heard of Hardy’s affiliation with the group, she became “nauseated,” she told the Globe. She had dated him for many months during his first two years on campus, and the mention of his name triggered painful memories. She said that on some occasions, he overpowered her and forced her to have sex, even though she told him to stop.
“I was beside myself at the idea that he’d be counseling people about sex,” this woman told the Globe.
She said her sexual encounters with Hardy followed a similar pattern: He would force himself on her, she would become upset, and then he would apologize.
He would say, with seeming sympathy, “I won’t do it again,” she recalled. “He does ‘contrition’ well. He does ‘concern’ very well.”
When she heard of Hardy’s work with the sex-ed program, she said she took it upon herself to approach a staff physician in charge of the group. She asked if he would want to know if one of his volunteers had a record of sexually assaulting women. The physician said yes.
She said she didn’t name Hardy, but she asked the doctor to contact her if he heard about any sexual misconduct complaints involving any of his volunteers.
A couple of months later, the physician contacted her; one of his volunteers had been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior. When they spoke further, she said it became clear they were talking about the same person — Hardy.
The woman declined to identify the doctor, but college records show that Dr. Richard Levandowski served as the physician in charge of the sexuality education group during Hardy’s senior year. Levandowski, who now works at a sports medicine clinic near Princeton, did not return the Globe’s phone calls seeking comment.
This Princeton woman said an inquiry was apparently launched after her exchange with the physician. Later in the school year, she was contacted by two administrators at Princeton, one of them a woman whose name she doesn’t recall, the other an assistant dean, Peter Onek. She shared with both her experience with Hardy.
“They were definitely looking into Roger,” she said, but she heard nothing more about it.
Onek, reached by the Globe, said he has no recollection of being part of any investigation involving Hardy. Now a criminal defense attorney, Onek said he was an assistant dean at Princeton from 1977 to 1984.
When told about the Princeton alumna who says she spoke to him about Hardy’s misconduct, Onek raised the issue of memory recall from three decades ago.
“I’m sure you’re aware of the malleability of memory,” he said.
A spokesman for Princeton said the college has no way to “verify any interactions or conversations — many of which may not have been recorded or formally reported’’ — that happened so long ago. “Even if there was any such record about a student, we would not discuss it without the student’s consent,’’ said Martin Mbugua.
■ ■ ■
As the winter of 1981 approached, the Princeton student who had reported Hardy’s attempted assault of the Westminster student began wrestling with a vision he could not abide: that Hardy, whom he considered to be a serial assaulter, planned to become a doctor.
“I was horrified, and made it my mission — my give-back to the world — to prevent him from reaching his dream of getting into medical school,” the student said.
He enlisted the help of lawyers who were family friends, asking for assistance in reaching out to the nation’s elite medical schools. He was careful in what he wrote, knowing the risk of being accused of defamation. The letters were sent, anonymously, and crafted in a way that would enable schools to read between the lines, as he recalled it. He said the letters broadly referred to Hardy as a person of poor character.
This classmate said he did not know if the letters made a difference, but a year or so later, one of the lawyers told him that Hardy was attending the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, where he had entered a newly formed small MD/PhD program. He said an anonymous letter had not been sent to that school, as he had imagined Hardy, with his obvious ambition, was only interested in the nation’s top private medical schools.
Over the next decade, Hardy studied at Cincinnati and then entered a gynecology residency program at Stanford. During his medical school years, he took time off for a Fulbright scholarship in Paris, where he first met his future wife.
Along the way, Hardy began introducing himself to his classmates and colleagues as Ian, dropping the first name he had gone by during the first two decades of his life.
A Globe review of court and police records found no complaints against him in the cities where he lived. The University of Cincinnati and Stanford said they are legally barred from releasing internal disciplinary records, if there are any, and the Globe found no evidence that there are.
By 1992, when Hardy received a coveted two-year fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, he could well have been convinced that nothing from his college years would surface to threaten his blossoming medical career.
But then the doctor at the Brigham, who knew him at Princeton, spotted his picture on the wall.
According to records kept by the Brigham and described to the Globe, the doctor, also a gynecologist, approached Dr. Kenneth Ryan, chairman of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology, on June 18, 1992. She told him she was not comfortable having Hardy come to the Brigham, according to his notes in Hardy’s personnel file. She said that there were sexual misconduct issues when he was at Princeton.
The doctor, in later statements to state investigators, said she also called a dean at Princeton.
“He recalled the case, but when he checked the file, it had been sealed,” according to state records summarizing the Brigham doctor’s account.
On advice from a hospital lawyer, Ryan also spoke to two deans at Princeton who said they had no disciplinary record on Hardy, according to Ryan’s notes in Hardy’s file.
There is no evidence that anyone at the Brigham ever directly questioned Hardy after the doctor’s warning to Ryan.
The lack of confirming information from Princeton halted any further inquiry at the Brigham for the next two years, until the female doctor felt the need to speak up again. She wanted to make sure that the new chairman of gynecology, obstetrics, and reproductive biology, Dr. Robert Barbieri, knew about her concerns.
As Barbieri recalled the encounter, the doctor said that one of her friends had been sexually assaulted by Hardy. It was “very concerning,” Barbieri later told state investigators, but it involved events more than 10 years in the past and there was no sign the alleged victim was pursuing the matter.
Barbieri told the Globe that, at the time of the complaint, he reviewed the hospital staff’s previous attempts to get potential disciplinary information about Hardy from Princeton, and decided there was nothing to be done. “But my awareness was certainly heightened,” he said in an e-mail. At no time at the Brigham, he said, did he see or hear anything that would cause him concern about Hardy.
As a result, Barbieri agreed to write a letter of recommendation for Hardy as he pursued medical licenses in several New England states after his Brigham fellowship.
“He was a mature and attentive physician and developed into a competent sub-specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility,” Barbieri wrote in one letter. “His professional ethics and character are sound.”
Hardy left academic medicine to go into private practice at an ideal time. The fertility industry was expanding, thanks to a first-of-its-kind law passed by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1987 requiring insurers to cover in-vitro fertilization and other breakthrough procedures.
Hardy soon landed a well-paying job at a growing practice that would come to be called the Fertility Centers of New England, headquartered in Reading. Hardy also worked sometimes at a Wellesley gynecology practice, taking referrals from doctors there for patients with infertility concerns.
One of them was a 30-year-old woman who lived in the suburbs west of Boston. Speeding along Route 9 after her appointment in the winter of 1999, she felt uneasy and distracted. She wanted to trust Hardy — he came highly recommended by her gynecologist — but something seemed terribly wrong with the examination he had just performed.
Hardy wanted to know if she experienced pain when she “pleasured herself,” she told the Globe in her first-ever interview on the matter. And as she lay on the paper-covered table in his exam room — there was no chaperone — Hardy explained in a clinical, monotone voice that he needed to get her “uterus to contract’’ and began to rub her clitoris. He stopped and then did it again, she said.
The woman was troubled but knew she was no expert. Was this a normal way to diagnose problems like hers? On the way home, she called her gynecologist, who worked at the medical practice where she had seen Hardy — Women’s Health Associates in Wellesley.
She explained exactly what Hardy had done and he tried to reassure her.
He would never do such an exam, she recalls him saying. Later, she contacted several physicians who said that such an exam has no medical purpose.
Her gynecologist apparently did not report Hardy to the state medical board after that February 1999 call — regulators said the woman’s accusation was never brought to their attention — and Hardy continued to work in the practice. But the gynecologist, knowing she was upset, did agree to cover her $500 share for a mediation session between her and Hardy, according to the patient.
The patient, now married with children, did not want to name the gynecologist in part because she is worried that doing so will identify her.
According to mediation documents obtained by the Globe, Dr. Paul Richer, one of the founders of the practice, agreed to pay her fee. He did not respond to calls and a visit from the Globe requesting an interview.
Before the mediation session in early 2000, the patient prepared a list of demands, including an apology and a commitment that Hardy enter counseling. Hardy’s violation had resurfaced dark memories of being raped in college — an event she had mentioned to Hardy when he took her medical history.
During the 3½-hour meeting, Hardy denied the questionable exam took place, his patient said. And when the mediator stepped out of the conference room near the end, Hardy stood up and towered over his former patient, whose fiance sat by her side. He pointed out that he went to an Ivy League university and she was raped in college, she and her husband recall him saying coldly. “Who is going to believe you over me?’’
The incident did not seem to impede Hardy’s successful career. He had privileges at a handful of community hospitals near Boston, and secured medical licenses in other New England states. He and his wife had three children and bought a historic six-bedroom home in Topsfield.
At work, Hardy swiftly became one of the Fertility Centers’ most popular physicians. One woman, Kristen Magnacca, even exalted him as “Dr. Right” in a guide to infertility treatment that she wrote — Girlfriend to Girlfriend: A Fertility Companion — a designation she came to deeply regret later.
But at around the same time the 30-year-old patient complained about Hardy’s inappropriate exam in Wellesley, accusations emerged at the Fertility Centers in Reading as well.
There was the afternoon in the late 1990s when Hardy had just finished performing an egg retrieval on a patient. As she woke up in the recovery room, a surgical technician and a nurse anesthetist noticed Hardy’s fingers on her gown, rubbing her nipple. The nurse anesthetist froze, then pushed between Hardy and the patient, according to the two employees’ statements to the medical board in 2014.
Again, a complaint was made to a practice owner — Dr. Vito Cardone — this time by the two employees who witnessed the incident. He sent them to a clinic manager who warned the anesthesia nurse not to “cause a stink or blow a whistle otherwise she would be labeled as a disgruntled worker,’’ she said in her later statements. Frightened, she made an anonymous call to the Board of Registration in Medicine reporting Hardy.
In his later interview with state investigators, Cardone said Hardy told him at the time he was only trying to calm the patient. Cardone said he did an internal investigation but didn’t report the incident to the board because “staff didn’t support the allegation.’’ Hardy “is a good doctor,’’ a nurse supervisor recalled Cardone saying, during her board testimony. Still, months later, two other employees told the board they saw Hardy do the same thing to another sedated woman, according to state records.
The medical board told the Globe it has no record of the anonymous call from the anesthesia nurse. Cardone said in his 2014 interview that the board called him about a complaint but that “it went nowhere.’’ The surgical technician said she filed an incident report, but when Hardy was later brought before the board in 2014, Dr. Joseph Hill, the new owner of the practice, said there were no formal complaints in his file.
It was several months after Hill bought the practice in the fall of 2003 that a patient came forward.
The patient, who lived on the North Shore with her husband and their young son, was wheeled into the operating room on a Thursday in December for a hysteroscopy, an hour-long procedure in which Hardy threaded a thin viewing tool into her uterus while she was under sedation.
In the recovery room, Hardy remarked to his 42-year-old patient: “You were very vocal. Do you remember anything from the surgery?’’ the patient recalled in a recent interview with the Globe. On the drive home, she and her husband agreed it was an odd question.
The next day in the shower she realized something was wrong. Her clitoral area was raw and swollen and wearing clothing was painful. Why there? she wondered. She didn’t want to believe anything inappropriate had happened so she tried to push away the thought.
But during a second-opinion visit with Dr. Brian Berger at another fertility clinic, Boston IVF, she told him what happened during Hardy’s surgery. Berger looked stricken, she said. Hardy “has a lengthy history,’’ she remembers him warning.
Berger, identified only as “Fertility Physician 3” in board documents, would tell medical board investigators in 2014 that Hardy’s “reputation was a well-known secret’’ and he would not refer patients to him.
Berger recommended she speak to a psychologist, Alice Domar, who ran a mind-body program for patients at Boston IVF. When she met with her, Domar told her that former Fertility Centers nurses she spoke to had “witnessed similar things,’’ according to Domar’s statements to the board.
Berger and Domar urged the North Shore patient to write a letter to the medical board, but not to mention their names, she recalled. Berger declined to speak with the Globe, citing patient confidentiality. Domar told the Globe that while she believed the patient’s account, she did not report it herself because she was not a witness.
The patient asked herself: What were her chances of being believed without backup? Probably not great. Still, she forged ahead in March 2004, filing a complaint with the medical board for “excessive trauma to genitalia.’’ She mailed copies to her insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts; Cardone; Hill; and three Beverly Hospital executives, including chief medical officer Dr. Peter Short. A few days later, she said, Hill called her home — an account Hill strongly denied through his attorney.
“I just bought this practice,” she recalled him saying. “What are you trying to do to me?’’
“I wrote it because it’s true,’’ she said she replied. “I’d like to stop Dr. Hardy from doing this again.’’
Hill declined to speak with the Globe, but his attorney, Nicholas Di Mauro, said Hill did not see the letter and was not aware of the allegations against Hardy at the time.
A spokeswoman for Short declined to comment on the incident but indicated that the hospital investigated it.
In response to the North Shore patient’s complaint, Hardy wrote a three-page letter to the board. His former patient, he said, was depressed from repeated miscarriages. “I am, however, certain that ‘something criminal’ was not done in the operating room in the presence of three professional assistants/chaperones,’’ Hardy wrote. “It is unclear what her implications are from these statements. However, if she perceives her ‘being vocal’’ was associated with sexual overtones, I can assure her it was not.’’ He ended his letter with well-wishes, saying he “very much’’ hoped a “normal pregnancy is in her future.’’
Board staff closed the complaint without disciplining him.
Angry, the North Shore woman fired back another letter to the board three weeks later, saying it had “further victimized the victim’’ by being satisfied with Hardy’s explanation and not delving further into his past.
The board did, however, take one step that felt insignificant to the patient at the time, but was not. They put her complaint in Hardy’s permanent record.
By now, Hardy, 45, had had complaints leveled against him involving two different physician’s practices and three instances of alleged sexual misconduct toward patients. Yet no one picked up on the pattern.
Meanwhile, Hardy’s personal life was unraveling. As of December 2005, he was no longer living with his wife and they divorced the following year. They sold their home for $1.83 million; Hardy agreed to pay nearly $90,000 a year in alimony and child support. His wife did not respond to the Globe’s attempts to reach her.
Later, he married again, this time to a woman from Thailand, and they began to build their own family.
At work, his behavior continued to draw attention.
“I watched him like a hawk,’’ said one nurse who worked closely with him in 2006 in a Globe interview. “He had no problem going into an exam without a chaperone’’ and was the only doctor at the practice who did routine breast exams.
Yet she did not report him to authorities. Suppose he was just being thorough?
The South Asian woman grew up in a traditional country where women are expected to have large families. But after years of failed fertility treatments, and several miscarriages, her chances of giving birth looked bleak. She spoke to her physician at the Brigham, Dr. Janis Fox, about the possibility of surrogacy or adoption. Her family agreed it was time to stop.
Then one day, a couple from her home country dropped by with their new twins. She knew they had struggled with infertility and asked who had helped. The answer was Dr. R. Ian Hardy.
Her first appointment with Hardy was in early 2011. Hardy asked about her sex life and commented that women from her country were “clueless about sex,’’ she told board investigators and the Globe during an interview. He advised her to view pornography because “her muscles needed exercise,’’ she recalled.
He suggested surgery to regulate her menstrual periods, and a few weeks later he did the operation at Beverly Hospital. During two follow-up visits to his Reading office, Hardy closed the door without a chaperone. He implied that having orgasms would help her get pregnant, she recalled. He proceeded to stimulate her, saying it would get her hormones going.
The two appointments left her feeling confused and ashamed, she said. She needed to talk to someone, to find out the truth about this “treatment.” Why hadn’t Fox, her trusted former doctor, shared this vital information? She decided to confront her.
Fox walked into her waiting room on a late September afternoon in 2013 and hugged her former patient, now 44. They hadn’t seen each other in about three years.
“I am very angry with you,’’ the patient recalls saying, conveying Hardy’s theory that sexual stimulation helped promote pregnancy. “Why didn’t you tell me this? Because you are uncomfortable?’’
“No!’’ said Fox, visibly shaken, according to the patient.
As the woman described Hardy’s actions, Fox kept shaking her head.
“Something is wrong here,’’ the patient recalls her doctor saying. “I want you to talk to someone.’’ Together they walked to see a Brigham social worker.
Over the next few weeks, the patient began having nightmares. Fox reported Hardy to the medical board on Oct. 16 but declined, when asked, to divulge the patient’s identity. This situation “is really awkward and difficult,’’ she explained to investigator Luke Simard. But she said she knew she had to tell someone.
The patient went to see Fox again and they talked about the possibility of her going to the board herself. “I don’t want you to do this if you don’t want to,’’ the patient recalls Fox telling her at one point. But, she added, “I will stand by you. I believe you.’’
On Nov. 13, 2013, Hardy’s 2011 patient met with board investigators. Afterward, she said she was relieved she stepped forward. “I wanted to be an example for other people,’’ she told the Globe.
This time, after so many years and missed opportunities, Hardy would be held accountable.
Medical board investigators moved quickly. They interviewed 17 people — current and former colleagues, and Princeton classmates — who detailed years of allegations against Hardy. The decade-old complaint from the North Shore woman suddenly seemed more credible and investigators called her back for more information.
Hardy arrived at the medical board offices in Wakefield on Jan. 16 to answer the accusations now stacked up against him. He did not bring a lawyer. He told the board that he knew he had done nothing wrong. “I know my practice,’’ he said, according to board documents.
When lead investigator Susan Dye confronted him with the two patients who had complained a decade apart, Hardy said the two women had something in common: “angst at not being able to have a baby.’’
Hardy told Dye he had “no idea why someone would say these things.’’ But he said he suspected the complaints were the work of jealous rivals in a competitive industry. “One way to take care of the competition is to report to the board,’’ he warned.
Hardy also told her there were never any complaints against him anywhere, including Princeton. The next day, he hired a lawyer.
That same Friday, an anonymous woman called the medical board. She had heard they were investigating Hardy and said that 30 years ago she was promised an inquiry, but nothing happened. She hung up without leaving her name, according to a board affidavit.
Hardy initially rejected the board’s efforts to have him sign a voluntary agreement not to practice medicine, but he changed his mind four days later after the board said it may suspend his license and sent him a letter with the lengthy list of witnesses. Among them was the Brigham gynecologist who noticed his photo and warned superiors. The roster also included Fertility Centers nurses, colleagues in the field, Hill, Cardone, and Domar.
Less than 24 hours before an emergency hearing on his case, Hardy, 54, surrendered his medical license — and promised never to seek another one in the United States.
He would break that vow before spring.
A lush, well-manicured golf course offers a stunning backdrop to a series of newly built luxury homes in Chiang Mai, one of the largest cities in Thailand. Palm trees line the residential streets at the Summit Green Valley Chiangmai Country Club, and a deluxe clubhouse offers panoramic views of the 18-hole course.
This is Roger Ian Hardy’s new neighborhood.
Months after surrendering his license, Hardy, his second wife, and their two young sons moved into a gracious two-level home there, with a swimming pool. They’ve since had a third child, a girl.
While Thailand is a mecca for foreigners seeking lower-priced infertility treatments, the Globe did not find evidence — through calls to clinics and observation of his daily life — that Hardy is currently practicing medicine in Thailand.
But there are indications Hardy had hoped to continue in his specialty after he lost his Massachusetts license. Nearly two months after he signed an agreement never to apply for licensure anywhere in the country, he completed an application for a medical license in his home state of Kansas.
It included reassuring letters of reference from three Massachusetts doctors, including one with a stamp of the signature of Barbieri, chairman of the Brigham’s obstetrics and gynecology department, on a form that said “there are no issues relating to his performance, character or competence.”
Hardy later withdrew his application, at a time when Kansas officials were actively conducting mandatory background checks. The Brigham has since said its letter was sent in error and that it now has a better system to catch disciplinary actions against doctors who worked there many years ago. Barbieri said he never signed it — or even saw it.
While Hardy builds a new life for himself and his family in Thailand, the revelations about his alleged abuses continue to reverberate.
The North Shore patient asked state licensing boards to investigate Domar, Hill, and Berger for not reporting her complaints about Hardy, but the boards declined to take action.
Cardone, the former Fertility Centers owner, was cited by the medical board last year for not reporting the first breast-touching allegation around 1998, and is contesting disciplinary action. Cardone’s attorney, Ellen Cohen of Boston, called the prosecution of the allegations “arbitrary and capricious.’’ State rules require doctors and other health-care providers to report to the licensing board when they have “a reasonable basis to believe’’ that a physician engaged in sexual misconduct.
Hill was cited by the Department of Public Health for not telling the agency about the complaint from the 2011 patient after the medical board alerted him about it. The South Asian woman has sued Hardy and the Fertility Centers. Since Hardy’s assets will be hard to access in Thailand, Hill’s business could face serious financial repercussions if the lawsuit is successful.
Prosecutors from Middlesex County began investigating Hardy but have not brought criminal charges, according to Djuna Perkins, the attorney for the South Asian woman. Prosecutors in Essex County have launched an inquiry into the North Shore woman’s case, according to her attorney, Tyler Fox of Cambridge.
Other Hardy patients have enduring — and perhaps unanswerable — questions. Did he do something to them, too? Others are angry that he wasn’t stopped sooner, even as far back as Princeton.
Some patients worry that sexual misconduct is still not taken seriously, especially if it involves a prominent doctor.
“So Dr. Hardy has had a nice resume . . . has the names Harvard behind him, Fulbright scholar, Princeton University, Stanford . . . So here I am, just one person, nice ethnic name, nothing. Who are you going to pick?’’ said the North Shore woman who complained to the board.
The Globe’s efforts to obtain comment from Hardy or his lawyers, through e-mails and phone messages, have been met with silence.
This summer, a Globe reporter traveled to Chiang Mai in an attempt to learn whether he was continuing to practice and to give him an opportunity to address the accusations against him.
On a July morning, the reporter rang the doorbell of Hardy’s home. His wife, Thaweeporn “Umy” Hardy, 36, emerged. She retreated into the home to ask Hardy if he would give an interview. When he refused, she talked to the reporter herself.
As she stood outside the home, holding her baby girl, she said the sexual assault allegations have been “a nightmare” for Hardy. She said that he continues to deny any charges, and that he chose not to fight the medical board in Massachusetts because he “doesn’t want to pay for the lawyers.”
She said that he cannot work as a doctor in Thailand, citing rules prohibiting foreign doctors to practice if they don’t speak Thai.
About 10 minutes into the interview, Hardy walked quickly through the kitchen, partially opened a front door and angrily yelled his wife’s nickname: “Um!”
She put up her hand, as if to say she would go back inside soon. She said she wants her husband to defend himself, but that he refuses to speak to reporters. When asked what he does with his days, she said he is retired and can now spend more time with his young children.
Hardy yelled again through one of the front doors, though he never came outside. “Um! Um!” he shouted. “Um!”
Before returning to the house, his wife accepted a letter from the Globe reporter, describing the nature of the allegations that would be referenced in this story, and requesting his response. The reporter offered to return later in the day if Hardy reconsidered his decision not to speak.
Umy Hardy agreed to give him the letter and message.
Hardy never called.