A Long Island decide has ordered former pediatrician Stuart Copperman to pay $22 million in compensatory and punitive damages to a 42-year-old lady who claimed he had sexually abused her from the time she was a toddler till she turned 18.
The ruling was the primary to be handed down in opposition to Mr. Copperman, who has been accused of abusing scores of sufferers over a long time. More than 100 different civil claims in opposition to him by former sufferers are pending.
Mr. Copperman didn’t mount a protection in the case and has no lawyer of document. He didn’t reply to requests for remark.
The plaintiff, recognized solely as Jane Doe A.R. I, introduced the lawsuit beneath the New York State Child Victims Act, which provides grownup victims of kid sexual abuse the best to sue their abusers till their 55th birthday. Prosecutors could file felony prison costs on behalf of victims till their 28th birthday.
In addition, the legislation supplied a one-year window after its enactment that permits folks to file a civil swimsuit at any age no matter when the alleged abuse came about.
Many attorneys are reluctant to tackle such circumstances in opposition to people, because the chance of with the ability to recuperate damages is small. Jane Doe A.R. I used to be represented by attorneys Michael Della, of Long Island, and Kristen Gibbons Feden, who prosecuted Bill Cosby and is now with a firm in Philadelphia.
In the choice handed down late final week, Nassau County Judge Leonard D. Steinman stated that the years of abuse had triggered the girl to develop extreme and lasting psychological problems and to undergo emotional misery, nervousness and depression that proceed to today.
“Plaintiff has been unable to participate in a normal, healthy romantic relationship — she has never dated — and though plaintiff is a highly educated and intelligent woman, she cannot maintain continuous employment” and receives incapacity funds, the decide wrote.
“Copperman’s abuse has robbed plaintiff of a normal, healthy and happy life,” the decide wrote in his choice. “The psychological scars resulting from the abuse are permanent.”
Jane Doe A.R. I didn’t converse till she was 5 years previous, and developed a dissociative identification dysfunction because of the trauma, Ms. Gibbons Feden stated.
“The thing it’s really important to convey is that sexual trauma doesn’t just go away,” Ms. Gibbons Feden stated in an interview. “It has a lifelong impact on a person.”
For a long time, Mr. Copperman had a thriving pediatric follow in Merrick, N.Y. He had a sterling repute as a doctor who made home calls and would reply in a medical emergency. He was wanted as an skilled speaker.
Mr. Copperman typically noticed younger feminine sufferers alone in the examination room, asking dad and mom who accompanied them to attend in the reception space, beneath the guise of giving the girls a possibility to talk freely.
His standing in the neighborhood was such that when kids and teenagers complained of abuse, many dad and mom merely didn’t consider them.
Although the state’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct acquired a gentle stream of sexual abuse complaints about Mr. Copperman for almost 20 years, it didn’t strip him of his medical license till December 2000. By then, he was 65 years previous and able to retire.
Officials might have acted a lot earlier: Two younger women testified earlier than a medical disciplinary panel in 1985 about their abuse, however the panel members — dominated by physicians — didn’t consider them.
Prosecutors in Nassau County, the place Mr. Copperman had served as president of the native pediatric society, didn’t press prison costs.
According to the judgment handed down final week, Mr. Copperman assaulted Jane Doe A.R. I at each examination, digitally penetrating her vagina and anus and stimulating her clitoris, even when she visited him for a sore throat or a cough.
Mr. Copperman insisted on “examining” her even when an appointment had been made for her sister, whom she accompanied.
The plaintiff was confused and discomfited by the physician’s actions, however didn’t absolutely respect that the habits constituted abuse till she was older and stopped being his affected person, in line with the ruling.
She continues to be traumatized by the fixed abuse, which triggered emotional misery in addition to bodily signs, loss of self worth, disgrace and humiliation, the decide stated.
“We would have loved to cross-examine him and really put him to the test,” stated Mr. Della But, he added, “This is as close to justice as we could have gotten.”
“We fully intend to attempt to collect whatever assets he may or may not have.”