Doctor who sexually abused patients commits suicide in Rikers prison

Doctor who sexually abused patients commits suicide in Rikers prison

Doctor who sexually abused patients commits suicide in Rikers prison

dr.  Ricardo Cruciani, a neurologist convicted of rape, was identified as the inmate who committed suicide at Rikers Island Prison

dr. Ricardo Cruciani, a neurologist convicted of rape, was identified as the inmate who committed suicide at Rikers Island Prison (Picture: AP)

A disgraced neurologist recently convicted of rape and sexual abuse has reportedly committed suicide in Rikers Island Prison.

dr. Ricardo Cruciani, 68, was recently found guilty of 12 charges of sexually abusing clients at his New York practice.

Cuciani was also indicted on 18 federal charges for abusing patients at his Philadelphia and Hopewell, New Jersey offices. He was due to appear in court in January 2023.

Early Monday morning, Cruciani stood on a chair and used a piece of cloth to hang himself in a communal shower room, according to the New York Daily News.

His death was later confirmed by his lawyer, Frederick Sosinsky, who did not confirm the manner of his death.

The Daily News also reported that no floor officer was on duty at the time. Rikers has been plagued for months by reports of staff shortages.

According to his lawyer Sosinsky, Cruciani was never remanded or placed on suicide watch as requested.

“None of these conditions, to our knowledge, has ever been met,” Sosinsky said. “If they had, we wouldn’t be having this terrible discussion.”

Sosinksy also called for an “immediate and objective investigation” into his client’s death.

Once a prominent and highly respected neurologist, Cruciani worked at Beth Israel (now Mt Sinai-Union Square) in Manhattan, the Capital Institute for Neurosciences in New Jersey, and chaired the neurology department at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

His accusers date back to 2013, when he started working at Beth Israel.

In court, six of Cruciani’s accusers said the doctor used his psychiatric training to manipulate them and prescribed too many opiate painkillers. He would then expose himself or demand sex from patients before filling prescriptions for more drugs.

Prosecutor Shannon Lucey called Cruciani a “drug dealer who used his prescription block as a weapon” and “evil in a white coat.”

Cruciani was convicted of 12 charges, including one count of predatory sexual assault, one count of attempted rape, one count of sexual assault, two counts of rape and seven counts of criminal sex acts. He was acquitted of two other charges.

Cruciani was due to be sentenced in September and was sent to Rikers Island after receiving a guilty plea. He was in prison for life.

“We entrust doctors to respect our bodies and health when we go to them for help, but Dr. Cruciani has completely violated that duty,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said after the verdict was announced.

Cruciani maintained his innocence throughout the court proceedings. His lawyers questioned the motives of his accusers.

“Ultimately, it seems that the collective weight of six accusers, rather than an honest consideration of each of their problematic stories, was the deciding factor,” Sosinsky said.

Cruciani is the eleventh person to have died in a New York prison this year. There were 16 deaths in prison in 2021 – the most since 2013.

New York City will close Rikers Island by 2027.

Contact our news team by emailing webnews@metro.co.uk.

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