In November 2000, the State Board of Professional Medical Ethics for New York State handed down a unanimous decision to revoke the medical license of Dr. Stuart Copperman, pediatrician, of Merrick, New York, determining it was the only way to ensure protection for the public.
The findings of fact and conclusions of law laid out graphic descriptions of sexual abuse.
The Order handed down by the court states Copperman was “engaging in professional misconduct by reason of harassing, abusing, or intimidating a patient either physically or verbally,” and “engaging in conduct that evidences moral unfitness to practice.”
The Judge warned that Copperman’s “denial” of any inappropriateness and “inability or unwillingness” to remedy his behavior made him a danger to the public and that revocation was the only remedy available that would offer protection.
The history is more than troubling. Complaints had been made before.
1984 Complaints brought to police who questioned Copperman and nothing happened.
1987 Hearings held by the state medical ethics board, where Copperman was represented by legal counsel. Outcome was girls were not believed.
1990’s Additional complaint(s)
2000 Hearings held by the state medical ethics board, again, where Copperman represented by legal counsel, 6 girls testified.
OUTCOME: Medical License Revoked. The women who had previously complained and testified felt some relief that his license was at least revoked, even if they were still powerless to bring a civil or criminal action. Case referred to the District Attorney.
2001 Copperman appealed the decision by the Administrative Judge.
Another 19 women came forward. Copperman’s appeal was denied. He was already 65 years old.
Criminal Charges? The District Attorney reviewed a referral.
For Jane Does A-G, and all girls over the cut off age of 23, the statute of limitations had run, so they could not file criminal charges.
Those who were patients in 2000, and still under age (between age 10 – 23) could have testified for the State of NY v. Stuart Copperman, M.D. In fact, many complaints rolled in. Calls to hotlines. Visiting police station and filing report. Mothers talking about it for the first time to other mothers. An office closed. Patients fled to other doctors.
Why didn’t the District Attorney investigate and file charges? After all, he could have been declared a sex offender and had restrictions around children in the future. Read the NY Times story about one girl whose mom took her to the police, filed charges, which were….IGNORED.
What is YOUR story?
So, what happened to HIM?
Copperman went on to enjoy a next stage career – moving to Florida, holding himself out as an expert, academic, and media author, writing articles, appearing in the ‘society pages. Before social media, starting anew was easy. He belongs to the Boca West Country Club, where we believe he would have unfettered access to swimming pools and facilities where young girls play. He lives in Melville, NY, in another country club community.
We think it is likely his reputation did not follow him there and that parents there do not know. We see photos all over social media where he is surrounded by children and young girls the same age as we were when victimized, and it is…painful. He has never had any restrictions placed upon him outside his losing his license to practice medicine, which in our opinion fails to “ensure the protection of Society,” as the Judge described.
Who are WE?
After the recent criminal prosecution of Dr. Nassar which reopened a lot of old wounds, dozens of us independently took to social media to see if anything had ever been done about Copperman. We survived something so similar that it hurt. We are encouraged by the recent societal shift in assigning blame and shame, and the public discourse recognizing pedophilia and abuse as real concern.
Some of us experienced his “treatments” over and over, for years, until we reached an age when we began to comprehend what was actually happening. By then, the shame and fear of coming forward was even worse.
Some left the area for college, or jobs, and in the less ‘connected’ era before social media and internet news. Many didn’t know anything about even the license hearings in 2000, and learned about them in the shock of the Dateline NBC report that showed up on TV a few years later.