Former Merrick pediatrician Stuart Copperman, seen in 2010, has not...

Former Merrick pediatrician Stuart Copperman, seen in 2010, has not responded to any of the 105 civil lawsuits. Credit: SocietyAllure.com/Rob Rich

Two more women who accused former Merrick pediatrician Stuart Copperman of sexually abusing them when they were girls have won multimillion-dollar awards from a Nassau County court, and lawyers expect hundreds of millions of dollars more in judgments in the coming months.

Nassau Supreme Court special referee William Bodkin on Wednesday awarded $22 million to Francine Iacona, 62, and another $22 million to a woman who filed her suit anonymously.

Those awards follow a $27 million judgment for a Suffolk County woman announced last  Monday and a $22 million judgment to an unidentified woman in August. Newsday does not name alleged victims of sexual abuse without their consent. Iacona agreed to use her name.

Michael Della, a Ronkonkoma attorney who along with Philadelphia lawyer Kristen Gibbons Feden represents the four women and 101 others who filed civil suits against Copperman, expects total damages to exceed $2 billion.

“The court seems to be speaking very loudly and is signaling to the public that they won’t stand for sexual abuse, they won’t stand for doctors taking advantage of their power,” said Della, who is with the law firm Gruenberg Kelly Della.

Della said that although the alleged victims likely will not obtain their full awards, especially because a judge last year dismissed several health systems and others from the suits, the large judgments will serve as a deterrent to other potential abusers.

Iacona, who grew up in Bellmore and lives in New Jersey, said she knows she likely won’t receive most or any of the $22 million. But, she said, the judgments are “a huge victory. This is part of my healing; it’s part of all of our healing, to have our voices heard and validated.”

Iacona began seeing Copperman at age 5, and she said her earliest memory of abuse is at about age 9. Copperman regularly penetrated her with his “ungloved finger” and tried to stimulate her, claiming he needed to “clean” her, according to the lawsuit. The “cleanings” occurred no matter why she visited the doctor, Iacona said.

The other plaintiff, identified in court documents as Jane Doe J.R. III, whose alleged abuse began at age 8, made similar accusations, as did other women who filed suits against Copperman.

In addition, Iacona said, Copperman sometimes pressed his body against her, and she could tell he was aroused.

Iacona said that by the time she was 14, she knew enough about sex to realize what he was doing went beyond medical treatment. At age 15, she said she told her older sister what Copperman was doing to her, and her sister told her mother. Her mother changed pediatricians, she said.

Copperman, reached by phone last week, said he couldn't comment. Copperman, 88, previously has said the physical contact he had with the girls was part of his examinations of them, although when his medical license was revoked in 2000, a state Department of Health disciplinary board said “rubbing the female genitalia during a physical examination is always inappropriate.”

No criminal charges have been filed against Copperman. Court documents list a Florida address for him. He and his wife bought a Melville home in 2003, and in 2019 ownership of that home was transferred solely to her, Suffolk County Clerk records show.

The women filed their civil suits under the Child Victims Act, which was enacted in 2019 and allowed people abused sexually as children years ago to file suits through August 2021.

Gibbons Feden, with the law firm Anapol Weiss, said there likely are far more victims beyond those who filed suit. She said she expects the three awards so far this month will be the beginning of a flood of major judgments in the coming months.

The first judgment was handed down Aug. 25 from Justice Leonard D. Steinman, who is overseeing all 105 cases. He held an inquest on damages for that case on Aug. 8, and handled the initial phases of all 105 cases, Gibbons Feden said.

Steinman appointed Bodkin and another special referee to handle the damages phase of the other 104 cases, and all but 23 of those inquests were held in late 2023 or early 2024, so the decisions on damages likely will now be released more frequently, she said.

“What [Copperman] did was very consistent each time with each survivor,” Della said, “so I see no reason why it won’t be at least $20 million for each plaintiff.”

Gibbons Feden said she and Della are determining what assets Copperman has. 

Copperman has not responded to any of the 105 civil suits, so “a default judgment was lodged against him in all of the cases,” Gibbons Feden said. All that is left is to determine how much he owes in damages, she said. No attorney for Copperman is listed in court documents.

Special referee Bodkin wrote in the judgment for Iacona that “Copperman’s sexual abuse and emotional manipulation of Plaintiff caused her to suffer deep and abiding trauma.”

Iacona said she has endured post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, anxiety and depression, and she became “guarded and mistrustful” toward others.

“We can heal, we can recover, and we do survive,” she said. “But the trauma never leaves you.”

Two more women who accused former Merrick pediatrician Stuart Copperman of sexually abusing them when they were girls have won multimillion-dollar awards from a Nassau County court, and lawyers expect hundreds of millions of dollars more in judgments in the coming months.

Nassau Supreme Court special referee William Bodkin on Wednesday awarded $22 million to Francine Iacona, 62, and another $22 million to a woman who filed her suit anonymously.

Those awards follow a $27 million judgment for a Suffolk County woman announced last  Monday and a $22 million judgment to an unidentified woman in August. Newsday does not name alleged victims of sexual abuse without their consent. Iacona agreed to use her name.

Michael Della, a Ronkonkoma attorney who along with Philadelphia lawyer Kristen Gibbons Feden represents the four women and 101 others who filed civil suits against Copperman, expects total damages to exceed $2 billion.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • A Nassau County court Wednesday awarded $22 million each to two women who accused former Merrick pediatrician Stuart Copperman of sexually abusing them when they were girls.

  • The awards follow two other judgments of a combined $49 million, and lawyers expect a flood of further awards in the coming months that likely will eventually exceed $2 billion.

  • More than 105 women have filed civil lawsuits against Copperman, whose medical license was revoked in 2000.

“The court seems to be speaking very loudly and is signaling to the public that they won’t stand for sexual abuse, they won’t stand for doctors taking advantage of their power,” said Della, who is with the law firm Gruenberg Kelly Della.

Della said that although the alleged victims likely will not obtain their full awards, especially because a judge last year dismissed several health systems and others from the suits, the large judgments will serve as a deterrent to other potential abusers.

Iacona, who grew up in Bellmore and lives in New Jersey, said she knows she likely won’t receive most or any of the $22 million. But, she said, the judgments are “a huge victory. This is part of my healing; it’s part of all of our healing, to have our voices heard and validated.”

Francine Iacona was awarded $22 million in her sexual abuse...

Francine Iacona was awarded $22 million in her sexual abuse lawsuit against former Merrick pediatrician Stuart Copperman. Credit: Iacona family

Iacona began seeing Copperman at age 5, and she said her earliest memory of abuse is at about age 9. Copperman regularly penetrated her with his “ungloved finger” and tried to stimulate her, claiming he needed to “clean” her, according to the lawsuit. The “cleanings” occurred no matter why she visited the doctor, Iacona said.

The other plaintiff, identified in court documents as Jane Doe J.R. III, whose alleged abuse began at age 8, made similar accusations, as did other women who filed suits against Copperman.

In addition, Iacona said, Copperman sometimes pressed his body against her, and she could tell he was aroused.

Iacona said that by the time she was 14, she knew enough about sex to realize what he was doing went beyond medical treatment. At age 15, she said she told her older sister what Copperman was doing to her, and her sister told her mother. Her mother changed pediatricians, she said.

Copperman, reached by phone last week, said he couldn't comment. Copperman, 88, previously has said the physical contact he had with the girls was part of his examinations of them, although when his medical license was revoked in 2000, a state Department of Health disciplinary board said “rubbing the female genitalia during a physical examination is always inappropriate.”

No criminal charges have been filed against Copperman. Court documents list a Florida address for him. He and his wife bought a Melville home in 2003, and in 2019 ownership of that home was transferred solely to her, Suffolk County Clerk records show.

The women filed their civil suits under the Child Victims Act, which was enacted in 2019 and allowed people abused sexually as children years ago to file suits through August 2021.

Gibbons Feden, with the law firm Anapol Weiss, said there likely are far more victims beyond those who filed suit. She said she expects the three awards so far this month will be the beginning of a flood of major judgments in the coming months.

The first judgment was handed down Aug. 25 from Justice Leonard D. Steinman, who is overseeing all 105 cases. He held an inquest on damages for that case on Aug. 8, and handled the initial phases of all 105 cases, Gibbons Feden said.

Steinman appointed Bodkin and another special referee to handle the damages phase of the other 104 cases, and all but 23 of those inquests were held in late 2023 or early 2024, so the decisions on damages likely will now be released more frequently, she said.

“What [Copperman] did was very consistent each time with each survivor,” Della said, “so I see no reason why it won’t be at least $20 million for each plaintiff.”

Gibbons Feden said she and Della are determining what assets Copperman has. 

Copperman has not responded to any of the 105 civil suits, so “a default judgment was lodged against him in all of the cases,” Gibbons Feden said. All that is left is to determine how much he owes in damages, she said. No attorney for Copperman is listed in court documents.

Special referee Bodkin wrote in the judgment for Iacona that “Copperman’s sexual abuse and emotional manipulation of Plaintiff caused her to suffer deep and abiding trauma.”

Iacona said she has endured post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, anxiety and depression, and she became “guarded and mistrustful” toward others.

“We can heal, we can recover, and we do survive,” she said. “But the trauma never leaves you.”

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