This Week in Allegedly: Robert Hadden, Kevin Spacey, and Goats

Hi,

This week’s top New York City courts and crime news involves allegations of sexual assault, including a new criminal case against Robert Hadden. More info in The Allegedly List. In The Allegedly Original, Peggy Gavan’s look at historic anti-goat policing sheds light on present-day disparities in the criminal justice system. As always, don’t forget to subscribe!

The Allegedly List

  • Robert Hadden, the former Columbia University gynecologist accused of sexually assaulting numerous patients, was arrested Wednesday on federal charges. Hadden “enticed and induced dozens of victims, including minors, to travel to his medical offices in New York, New York, at least in part for the purpose of subjecting them to unlawful sexual abuse,” the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office said. In 2016, Hadden got probation in his state sexual abuse case under a plea deal, spurring extensive criticism of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. Via Southern District of New York

  • The Department of Justice wants to swap its lawyers for Donald Trump’s private legal team in advice columnist E. Jean Carroll’s defamation case against him. Department officials claimed in Manhattan court papers Tuesday that Trump acted “within the scope” of official presidential duties in claiming that Carroll lied when she said he raped her more than two decades ago. “Just when @realDonaldTrump is required to produce documents and DNA in discovery, he sics the DOJ on us,” Carroll said Tuesday on Twitter, also writing “THIS IS UNPRECEDENTED!!” Via New York Daily News

  • Kevin Spacey was accused in a new lawsuit of sexually abusing two 14-year-old boys on separate occasions in the 1980s: actor Anthony Rapp and a man referred to as C.D. in court papers. The suit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday, also alleged that Spacey tried to force sex on C.D. Spacey, whose reps couldn’t be reached for comment, previously denied Rapp’s allegations. Via Vulture

  • A Manhattan federal court judge decided that lawyers repping the families of 9/11 victims can question two dozen members of Saudi Arabia’s government about whether the country had a role in these attacks. For years, these families have fought to investigate Saudi Arabia on whether the Kingdon helped Al Qaeda, slamming the U.S. government for a “massive coverup.” Brett Eagleson, whose father was killed on 9/11, reportedly said of the decision, which was disclosed Thursday: “This ruling basically allows us to depose key members of the Saudi royal family.” Via New York Daily News

  • On Tuesday, Rochester’s police chief, La’Ron D. Singletary, and several high-ranking department officials, resigned or were demoted in the wake of Daniel Prude’s death. Three days prior, state Attorney General Letitia James announced that she was impaneling a grand jury to probe the incident. Prude died in March after police put a “spit hood” on him while holding him against the ground, but details were not released until last week, spurring allegations of a cover-up. Via New York Times

  • Jeffrey Lichtman, the lawyer who repped Mexican drug lord El Chapo and Gambino mobster John Gotti Jr., will defend the 15-year-old, who is facing a life behind bars in the December 2019 killing of Barnard College student Tessa Majors. The teen, Rashaun Weaver, is charged with second-degree murder and other related counts for his alleged role in Majors’ murder. Lichtman said he decided to defend him pro bono, after he learned that Weaver was the same age as his twin sons, it was revealed Tuesday. Via New York Daily News

  • Five security officers at Brooklyn Federal Court contracted coronavirus, prompting officials to shutter the courthouse until at least Monday, as they continued tracing this outbreak, it was revealed this week. It’s unclear whether others who work at the courthouse—such as prosecutors, judges, and defense lawyers—have fallen ill, though there does not appear to be indication thus far that any have contracted COVID-19.  Via New York Daily News

The Allegedly Original

When The Goats of Gotham Got Residents’ Goats

By Peggy Gavan

During the 19th Century, the Upper West Side from about 59th Street to Harlem was often referred to as Goat Town or Goatville. Before the extension of elevated railroads prompted new housing construction above Central Park, thousands of goats lived among the hills and large rocky outcrops that once dominated the area. Carmansville, a village situated on the Upper West Side, even had its own squad of policemen dedicated to catching goats called the Nanny Squad. Goat towns could also be found among the rocky hills on the Upper East Side from Lenox Hill to East Harlem.  

In the late 1800s, many city goats received bad publicity for committing criminal trespass and petty larceny. Although the goats’ actions made the news headlines, these stories also had a human element that spoke to residents’ suffering. Many immigrant residents derived their livelihood from selling goat meat and milk; they also depended on the goats for food. They could not afford to pay court fines levied on them, and they also lost their source of income and sustenance when the goats were carted off to the pound. The conflict over these goats touches on policing controversies that continue to this day: Impoverished New Yorkers bore the brunt of enforcement. More, reactions to these purported nuisance animals showed the power of NIMBYism—and its relationship to even early iterations of community policing. 

One short story published in The New York Times provides a glimpse of the tumultuous relationship between the goat-owning residents and the police. On July 30 1880, a squad of police officers in plain clothes descended on the hills in the sparsely-settled neighborhood around East 70th Street. There, they captured as many goats as they could fill in their two-horse truck. 

According to the newspaper, a large crowd of goat-owning residents and their sympathizers, “who were loud in their denunciations of these ‘oppressors of the poor,’” harassed and yelled at the officers as they gathered the goats. Some of the women were reportedly very loud in allegedly making threats, “but a show of force on the part of Police soon quieted them.” One woman reportedly shouted: “These police is all American, with their hundred dollars a month and their peccadilly collars and white neckties, chasin’ ‘goats.’” 

The police officers captured 22 goats on that hot summer day, which was about 15 more than the truck could humanely handle. The Times reporter noted that as the goats trampled each other and stood on their hind legs for want of room, none of the protesting residents seemed to pay any mind to their suffering. He believed that the squatters were not protesting because they cared for the goats, but because they depended on them for their survival.  

In December 1884, some well-to-do residents of Yorkville and East Harlem came together to form the Anti-Goat Protective Association. According to the Buffalo Evening News, the mission of the association, led by attorney Robert W. Todd of 30 East 70th Street, was to help the police eradicate the neighborhood of goats. The association claimed goats had long fed freely on ladies’ skirts and underwear hanging from clotheslines, or had jumped through open windows to feast on indoor plants, paintings, and other valuables. 

According to the upstate newspaper, the group filed a complaint with Police Commissioner Stephen B. French “setting forth the existing state of affairs and begging that the police reserves or the militia be called out to make war with the animals.” The police department agreed the goats were a nuisance and should be removed. But, as the news reporter noted, giving the order was much easier than executing it. In this war on goats, it was the NYPD versus the goats and the immigrant residents.

“The squatters in the shanties on the rocks say they cannot afford to buy hoop skirts and flannel underwear for their animals and declare it will ruin them to provide food,” the newspaper said. “They will defy the law and trust to the agility and butting power of the goats to escape. If the police order that the goats must go, let them carry out the order if they can.”

For the police, rounding up goats was no simple feat. The reporter offered the following comical imagery to paint a picture in the readers’ eyes:

“The average goat, they say, is as elusive as a nickel which has slipped between the torn lining of last year’s overcoat and as hard to catch as a Brooklyn street car. [The police] do not relish skipping over the rocks in pursuit of such agile offenders, and even granting that they can catch a goat, what in the name of justice, they ask, are they to do with it? The law forbids killing it, Henry Bergh says it shall not be clubbed, and there is no cell in the station-houses for it. To take it to the pound sounds easy, but experience has demonstrated that it requires the united energies of four dignified policemen to drag one goat three blocks.”

At an informal Anti-Goat meeting that took place at Todd’s “brownstone palace” on East 70th Street, he pointed out a broken stone balustrade under a front window and some ruined paintings on his parlor walls. He explained that the goats’ voracious appetites “had swollen his dry goods bills to enormous proportions.” The news reporter selected a colorful moment to record for all posterity:

“‘Do you know,’ said he, with an angry quiver in his voice, ‘every week these goats break in to my back yard and carry out the finest pairs of my daughter’s—’

‘Papa,’ screamed the young lady, ‘don’t you dare tell—’

‘I don’t care,’ doggedly insisted the old man, ‘you know they ruined at least a dozen pairs of your—’

‘Papa!’

‘Silk stockings,’ went on the angry father, ‘and I mean to get even with them some way, if I have to mount a howitzer on the kitchen steps.’”

That evening, each member of the association agreed to rush to the aid of every policeman struggling to capture an elusive buck or doe in the neighborhood. 

There is no further record of the Anti-Goat Protective Association. By the end of the 19th Century, when all the rocky hills had been leveled and the shanties had all been replaced by luxury apartment houses, the Goat Towns of Manhattan were a matter of history.  

Like today, crackdowns boosted by wealthy residents and what appeared to be an early form of gentrification went hand in hand, changing a neighborhood in a way that made it harder for residents of fewer means to live.

A note for readers: Thank you for reading this week’s edition! We will not be publishing during the High Holy Days, but look forward to seeing you back very soon!