Stuart Copperman was stripped of his medical license in 2000.

Stuart Copperman was stripped of his medical license in 2000. Credit: Rich

A Nassau County judge has awarded $22 million to a former patient of Stuart Copperman, an ex-Long Island pediatrician who was stripped of his medical license in 2000 following numerous complaints of sexual abuse.

The award brings to a close the first of 104 lawsuits filed in 2021 against Copperman for alleged sexual abuse. The claims were filed during a special look-back window provided by the state to allow child victims of sexual assault to file lawsuits against their alleged abusers.

In the first of the Copperman claims to go forward, Supreme Court Justice Leonard D. Steinman ordered a $22 million award in a decision filed Friday in the 10th Judicial District, following a bench trial in which Copperman defaulted and never responded, according to attorneys in the case.

How much of the $22 million the plaintiff, a 41-year-old whose identity is being withheld, will eventually collect is uncertain, one of her lawyers said.

“We will be doing everything in our power to collect something and bring him to some semblance of justice,” said Mike Della, whose Ronkonkoma firm, Gruenberg Kelly Della, was one of two jointly representing all 104 women.

Beyond the money, Della said the plaintiffs wanted to “send a message” to abusers and “make sure this never happened again.”

“At the very least, our client got her day in court and the judge saw what she’s been living with this entire time,” Della said.

Steinman, in his decision, said Copperman regularly digitally penetrated the plaintiff during routine visits, beginning when she was a toddler and continuing until she was 18.

“Copperman’s abuse has robbed plaintiff of a normal, healthy and happy life,” Steinman wrote. “The court finds that the psychological scars resulting from the abuse are permanent.”

Steinman awarded the woman $17 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.

Earlier in the proceeding, Steinman had dismissed from the case several hospitals and health facilities that were affiliated with Copperman and had been named co-defendants by the plaintiff.

Two decades ago, Newsday chronicled the case of Copperman, a Merrick pediatrician whose license was revoked after at least six women told a state hearing panel he had molested them as young girls. The complaints covered an 11-year period ending in 1989. No criminal charges were filed.

In 2000, the New York Office of Professional Medical Conduct revoked Copperman's license after receiving testimony from six women. They said the doctor abused them during physical exams when they were between the ages of 14 and 20.

Copperman denied any wrongdoing during the proceedings, fought unsuccessfully to retain his license and later moved to Florida. He had operated his practice in his Merrick basement for four decades before losing his license.

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