Sexual Abuse Claims Against Stuart Copperman
Stuart Copperman was once a prominent and well-respected pediatrician in Merrick, Long Island, New York. Then, in 2000, the state Office of Professional Medical Conduct revoked Mr. Copperman’s medical license following a stream of allegations that he sexually molested many of his teenage patients for decades. Six women who were patients of Mr. Copperman testified before the state panel with nearly identical stories of abuse. The panel concluded that Mr. Copperman’s conduct was unprofessional and grossly negligent, and that touching a woman’s genitals is never appropriate during a physical exam. After the doctor’s license was revoked, dozens more women revealed that they were also molested as teens by the doctor. By the time Mr. Copperman’s license was revoked, he was 65 years old and close to retirement. Criminal charges were never filed against him.
The adult women who accused Mr. Copperman told similar stories- Mr. Copperman examined them with their parents outside the room claiming that he needed to talk to his patients privately so as not to embarrass them in front of their parents. Mr. Copperman would tell his patients that they needed a vaginal “cleaning”. He would then touch their genitals without using gloves, often for several minutes at time.
This was not the first time Mr. Copperman faced questions about his conduct toward young women he examined. In the late 1980s, two women filed claims of sexual molestation with the state panel. At that time, the panel cleared him of inappropriate behavior. Since being found innocent of misconduct, more women filed complaints with the state panel. The two accusers expressed shock and outrage that the state did not revoke the doctor’s license after hearing their testimony. Mr. Copperman continued to practice for years after these initial accusations, sexually abusing dozens more patients under the guise of medical treatment despite the victims’ brave attempts to reveal the abuse they endured.
Incidents of sexual abuse between young children and doctors are particularly egregious since victims are led to believe that inappropriate conduct is normal and medically necessary. The victims in these cases were teens who were young and vulnerable, and many reported not understanding that this type of examination was abusive. Mr. Copperman similarly groomed the parents by telling them that these private, unsupervised examinations were a routine procedure when treating teenagers.
Now, almost 20 years after his license was revoked, Mr. Copperman’s former patients plan to file civil lawsuits against him. A new law that became effective on August 15, 2019 allows accusers of sexual abuse to file claims based on abuse that occurred years or even decades ago. The New York Child Victims Act (CVA) allows a limited window of time (which began in August 2019 and expires on August 14, 2021) to file civil lawsuits against abusers even decades after the crimes occurred. In addition to the one year “look-back window,” survivors of sexual abuse can now file civil lawsuits for sexual abuse until they reach the age of 55.
Levy Konigsberg LLP is a nationally recognized law firm that has recovered millions of dollars for victims of sexual abuse. If you or a member of your family has been the victim of sexual misconduct by a doctor, medical professional or hospital employee, please contact our lawyers for a free and confidential consultation by calling 1-800-225-9825 or submitting an email inquiry on this page.