New York Daily News: EXCLUSIVE – A high profile doctor convicted of sexually abusing patients hanged himself in a Rikers Island jail early Monday, multiple sources confirmed to the Daily News.
Ricardo Cruciani, 67, was convicted by a Manhattan jury in July of four counts of sexual abuse after six of his former patients testified against him.
During his trial, prosecutors said victims including a disabled woman told them Cruciani would threaten to kill himself if any of them came forward to disclose his crimes. “Evil in a white coat,” was how prosecutor Shannon Lucey described him.
Cruciani was taken into custody on July 29 after a judge revoked his $1 million bail when he was convicted.
He was housed in the Eric M. Taylor Center. Early on Monday, he went into a common shower area, stood on a chair and used a piece of cloth to hang himself, the sources said.
Correction Department officials did not have immediate comment Monday.
Cruciani’s death is the 12th in the city jails in 2022, following 16 in the jails in 2021 — a rate of mortality unprecedented in the modern era of the jails.
“This is beyond devastating and outrageous. Stop. Just stop. The City Council must immediately end solitary confinement. And the Mayor, Governor, judges, district attorneys, and state and local lawmakers must do everything within their respective powers to release people and stop sending people to these deadly jails,” said Anisah Sabur an activist with #HALTsolitary Campaign and former Rikers Island inmate.
“And stop demonizing bail reform. People need treatment, not jails, not solitary confinement, and not death by incarceration.”
Prosecutors alleged Cruciani, a trained neurologist, used his psychiatric training to manipulate his victims, plied them with heavy doses of painkillers and raped and molested them while making them watch him masturbate. He was slated to next appear in court Sept. 14.
The charges dated back to 2013 when Cruciani was at Beth Israel near Union Square, a hospital now known as Mt. Sinai-Union Square. He also left a trail of victims at medical facilities across multiple neighboring states, authorities say.
During his 35-year career, Cruciani, who still faces federal charges, also worked at Capital Institute for Neurosciences in Hopewell Township, NJ, and was the chairman of the neurology department at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
His case in the Southern District of New York will soon be dismissed. When federal defendants die, prosecutors must file papers with the court to say they no longer contest the case.
A high-profile example was the case of Jeffrey Epstein, who hanged himself inside Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Complex in August 2019 while awaiting trial for underage sex trafficking.
The Manhattan district attorney and the US Attorney’s office did not immediately issue statements responding to notification of Cruciani’s suicide.
Top Feature Photo: Ricardo Cruciani appears in Manhattan Supreme Court April 27, 2018 – Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News