A prominent Manhattan neurologist found guilty of raping six female patients, drugging them and making them watch him masturbate, hanged himself in Riker’s Island early Monday.
Ricardo Cruciani, 67, who was convicted last month by a Manhattan jury on four counts of sexual abuse after six of his former patients testified against him, was found hanging in a common shower area in the Eric M. Taylor Center.
Cruciani reportedly stood on a chair and used a piece of cloth to hang himself, sources told The New York Daily News.
The doctor, who was convicted on July 21, was scheduled to appear in court on September 14 and was facing a life sentence.
Prosecutors alleged Cruciani was a master manipulator, who preyed on his victims psyche, and gave them heavy doses of painkillers in order to rape and molest them. He also forced them to watch him masturbate.
One of his victims, a disabled woman, testified that Cruciani told them that he would kill himself if anyone came forward.
Prosecutor Shannon Lucey called Cruciana, ‘Evil in a white coat,’ a report said.
Ricardo Cruciani (pictured) sits with his lawyers in Manhattan Supreme Court as his trial starts in the sexusl abuse case agagnst him in which several women claim that he got them hooked on pain killers then sexaully abused them over several years
A general view shows the Rikers Island facility on June 6, 2022. – Rikers has long had a reputation for unsanitary conditions and violence but is facing arguably under its most intense scrutiny ever following the deaths, which included by suicide, drug overdoses and medical emergencies. Last month a local court found the Department of Correction (DOC) in contempt for denying detainees access to medical care
Authorities said that Cruciani left a trail of victims at a number of medical facilities in different states.
His charges date back to 2013 when he was at Beth Israel near Union Square, a hospital now known as Mt. Sinai-Union Square.
Throughout his case, his ex-wife named Nora, a pediatrician was at his side.
He took advantage of his patients and manipulated them by using his background in psychiatry to get close to patients, asking them intimate questions about their childhood and personal lives.
Cruciani reportedly stroked their hair and complimented them before forcibly kissing and groping them and compelling the women to have sex with him.
‘Ricardo Cruciani abused his power as a medical professional and knowingly took advantage of his patients’ pain,’ said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
‘We entrust doctors to respect our bodies and health when we go to them for help, yet Dr. Cruciani utterly violated that duty,’ he continued in the news release.
Cruciani, who had offices in Manhattan, also operated in Hopewell, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he subjected his patients to years of abuse and trauma, according to federal and local authorities.
Before his death, he was facing a federal trial slated for next year.
In that case, Cruciani, was charged with five counts of enticement and inducement to travel and engage in unlawful sexual activity, each of which carries a maximum 20-year sentence, Law & Crime reported.
Between 2002 and 2017, Cruciani allegedly abused his female patients and leveraged his access to opioids.
Federal prosecutors said that he ‘persuaded, induced, enticed, and coerced certain victims to travel across state lines to subject them or attempt to subject them to unlawful sexual abuse,’ the news outlet reported.
Cruciani, who worked in the medical field for more than three decades, was also chairman of the neurology department at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He also worked with Capital Institute for Neurosciences in Hopewell Township, New Jersey.
When a federal defendant dies, prosecutors must file papers with the court to say they no longer contest the case.
Since his death, Cruciani’s case that was in the Southern District of New York will soon be dismissed.