Stuart Copperman, who practiced pediatric medicine on Long Island for nearly 40 years between 1961 and 2000, has been accused of sexual assault by seventy-seven of his former patients. Although the crimes happened between 20 and 60 years ago, the victims have the opportunity to pursue justice now under the Child Victims Act, or CVA.
The CVA makes certain key adjustments to the reporting requirements for sexual assault, when the victim in the case is a minor. It extends the statute of limitations, and it allows victims to file claims until they are 55 years old. Previously, the statute of limitations could be extended if the victim could show that he or she had incomplete or missing memory of the assault, or did not comprehend the impact the assault had. Now, the CVA automatically allows for delayed reporting.
Still, proving that a sexual assault happened more than twenty years ago will be a challenge for the victims’ attorneys, since the primary proof will be a former patient’s memory and a psychologist’s assessment of the assault’s psychological effects. This underscores the importance for victims of past child sexual assault of selecting an attorney who fully understands the CVA.
For more on the Stuart Copperman case, read this. For more on the CVA, read the article, Child Victims Act is a Step Toward Healing, which I published in The New York Law Journal.