Indicted Cumberland Hospital Psychotherapist Hershel Harden Found Dead

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Kevin Biniazan, Esq. - Virginia Abuse Guardian

Hi - I’m Kevin. I am an attorney that is licensed to practice law in Virginia. I am currently representing clients who have filed a Cumberland Hospital sexual abuse lawsuit. We can help you hold responsible the offenders and those that protect them.

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Indicted Cumberland Hospital Provider Did Not Appear For Sentencing

On February 22nd, 73-year-old Hershel “Mickey” Harden was due to appear in court for sentencing. However, on the morning of that same date, Williamsburg Police Department responded to a call from Ironbound Road in Williamsburg, VA.

At the location, officers encountered Harden with what they believed was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The man was transported to Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond where he was pronounced dead.

More than one year before, Harden first made news after having been indicted by the King William multi-jurisdictional grand jury on 2 felony counts of object sexual penetration. The assaults were alleged to have occurred between 2018 and 2019 within Cumberland's walls while Harden was employed there. 

On the day of his death, Harden was scheduled to visit a New Kent County courthouse where he'd plea guilty to one of the counts he was charged with. In doing so, the James City County native would accept a max sentence of life in prison. However, Harden would not survive to see his sentence levied. 

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Harden's Victim Had Filed A Plea Opposition

Before Harden had taken his own life, and after it had been agreed that he would plead guilty to at least one of the sex crimes charges, the female victim's attorneys had already filed a victim's plea opposition. In it, they requested that the plea deal be rescinded.

While this was a criminal case handled by the Attorney General, the law states that victims must generally be given a say when a plea deal is offered to their aggressors. This is perhaps most true in sexual abuse claims. By filing a plea opposition, the victims made it clear that disagreed with the offer presented by the AG to the abuser.

Within the opposition plea, the victim detailed more than 100 separate instances in 2018 when Harden had sexually abused her while she was under his care. Citing these instances of abuse, the victim's defense criticized the Attorney Generals' actions, believing them to be inadequate within the context. More specifically, permitting a plea deal was deemed to be too lenient for the degree of abuse that the victim had to endure.

Legal Claims After Death

Before the plea opposition could be decided upon by a judge, Mr. Harden took his life. However, this does not mean that victims will not find justice and compensation to help them recover.

A civil case has already been levied against Cumberland Hospital, Universal Health Services (the facility's owner), the former director Dr. Davidow, and Mr. Harden. Evidently, Hershel Harden will not be there to face his victims in civil court. Yet, these same victims may still receive their deserved compensation from the other defendants. 

Recent Updates

In 2021, a second claim was presented against Cumberland Hospital and its former medical director. Had Harden been living at the time of filing, it's possible he would have been named as a defendant as well. However, for the time being, the only exploitations that have been revealed in this subsequent filing have been those surrounding Dr. Davidow.

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