The following is an excerpt from DNYUZ.com.
A Long Island judge has ordered former pediatrician Stuart Copperman to pay $22 million in compensatory and punitive damages to a 42-year-old woman who claimed he had sexually abused her from the time she was a toddler until she turned 18.
The ruling was the first to be handed down against Mr. Copperman, who has been accused of abusing scores of patients over decades.
More than 100 other civil claims against him by former patients are pending.
Mr. Copperman did not mount a defense in the case and has no attorney of record. He did not respond to requests for comment.
The plaintiff, identified only as Jane Doe A.R. I, brought the lawsuit under the New York State Child Victims Act, which gives adult victims of child sexual abuse the right to sue their abusers until their 55th birthday.
Prosecutors may file felony criminal charges on behalf of victims until their 28th birthday.
In addition, the law provided a one-year window after its enactment that allows people to file a civil suit at any age regardless of when the alleged abuse took place.
Jane Doe A.R. I was 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 decision handed down late last week, Nassau County Judge Leonard D. Steinman said that the years of abuse had caused the woman to develop severe and lasting psychological disorders and to suffer emotional distress, anxiety and depression that continue to this day.
“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 disability payments, the judge wrote.
Jane Doe A.R. I did not speak until she was five years old, and developed a dissociative identity disorder as a result of the trauma, Ms. Gibbons Feden said.
“The thing it’s really important to convey is that sexual trauma doesn’t just go away,” Ms. Gibbons Feden said in an interview. “It has a lifelong impact on a person.”
Although the state’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct received a steady stream of sexual abuse complaints about Mr. Copperman for nearly two decades, it did not strip him of his medical license until December 2000. By then, he was 65 years old and ready to retire.
Officials could have acted much earlier: Two young women testified before a medical disciplinary panel in 1985 about their abuse, but the panel members — dominated by physicians — did not believe them.
Prosecutors in Nassau County, where Mr. Copperman had served as president of the local pediatric society, did not press criminal charges.
Link to full article here.