https://www.theepochtimes.com/former-neurologist-in-new-york-city-found-guitly-of-raping-sexually-abusing-patients_4631835.html

A former neurologist in New York City was convicted on July 29, on 12 criminal counts of raping and sexually abusing six of his patients after a month-long trial.

A New York City jury deliberated for about three days at the trial of Ricardo Cruciani, 68, before finding him guilty on the charges, which comprise one count of predatory sexual assault, one of attempted rape, one of sex abuse, two of rape, and seven of criminal sexual acts. He was acquitted on two other counts.

The Ivy League-trained doctor, of Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, was jailed after the verdict was announced. He had been out on bail.

Cruciani’s sentencing has been scheduled for Sept. 14. The predatory sexual assault charge alone would carry a maximum punishment of life in prison.

“Ricardo Cruciani abused his power as a medical professional and knowingly took advantage of his patients’ pain,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement.

“We entrust doctors to respect our bodies and health when we go to them for help, yet Dr. Cruciani utterly violated that duty. Dr. Cruciani left in his wake six survivors who continue to suffer from debilitating diseases, and now, years of trauma.”

Forced Into Non-Consensual Sex

The six women who testified at Cruciani’s trial were his patients at Beth Israel Medical Center, and later at his other offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Hopewell, New Jersey. Each of the women had come to Cruciani, who was highly esteemed within the medical field, to treat their chronic and debilitating pain disorders.

They said the sexual abuse often occurred behind closed doors during appointments in 2013, where Cruciani would expose himself and demand sex or sexual favors. Cruciani left Beth Israel Medical Center in 2014.

During the trial, the women testified that they were sexually abused, with some having been forced into having non-consensual sex. They also testified that Cruciani gave them high doses of pain medication to get them addicted so they would continue to be dependent on him.

Prosecutors alleged that Cruciani developed a personal relationship with each patient and gradually advanced on them in a physical manner.

“Cruciani initiated physical contact by stroking his patients’ hair, complimenting their appearance and giving them uncomfortably tight hugs,” reads a statement from Bragg’s office.

“Eventually, progressed to forcibly kissing the women, groping them, and compelling them to perform oral sex and have sexual intercourse.”

Alvin Bragg speaks during a Get Out the Vote rally at A. Philip Randolph Square in Harlem in New York City, on Nov. 1, 2021. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The prosecutors also alleged that Cruciani “frequently forced his patients to perform sexual acts in order to receive prescriptions for addictive pain medications.”

“He didn’t finish writing my prescriptions until I did something for him,” one woman told the jury.

Because the patients were hooked on the pain medications, when they sought care from other doctors, some were refused because of the dangerously high doses they had been prescribed.

“The survivors were left with opioid addictions, sexual trauma, and without proper medical care for their extremely rare and painful diseases,” Bragg’s office stated.

Cruciani was arrested in 2018 over the case.

During his career, Cruciani worked for several leading pain-management providers. He has denied the sexual abuse allegations. His attorney, Fred Sosinsky, said on July 29 there would be an appeal.

“My client and his beautiful family are crushed by today’s verdict,” the lawyer said. “In the end, it appears that the collective weight of six accusers, rather than a fair consideration of each of their problematic accounts, carried the day.”

Cruciani’s lawyer had also argued that the witnesses weren’t credible. He said the women “were willing to lie” and “dispute the indisputable” to convince the jury of the charges.

Among the witnesses was Hillary Tullin, who helped fuel the case by calling a sexual abuse hotline in 2017 and reporting that Cruciani had abused her repeatedly between 2005 and 2013.

In response to the verdict, Tullin, who chose to step forward publicly under her full name, said: “Mr. Cruciani and his lawyers were indefatigable in their attempts to portray me and the other witnesses as liars but the truth prevailed,” adding, “What happened to us is real, it’s traumatic, and it can no longer be denied.”

Still Facing Other Charges

The disgraced former doctor is still facing similar but separate federal charges in Manhattan alleging that he abused multiple patients over 15 years—2002 and 2017— at his offices in New York City, Philadelphia, and Hopewell.

He has been charged with five counts of enticement and inducement to travel and engage in unlawful sexual activity. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. He was arrested in October 2021 over the charges and faces a trial next year.

Besides the federal charges, Cruciani faces a state case in New Jersey that alleges he abused seven female patients in New Jersey over a two-year span—between January 2014 and January 2016.

The abuses allegedly took place while he was a chief neuroscientist at Capital Health’s Institute of Neurosciences, a health facility in Hopewell Township. The 15 counts comprise eight counts of second-degree sexual assault and seven counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact.

Separately, Cruciani had pleaded guilty to having assaulted seven patients in 2016 at a Philadelphia clinic, while he was chairman of Drexel University’s neurology department.

He was arrested in 2017 over the matter and was fired from the department that year. Per a plea agreement, Cruciani pleaded guilty in November 2017 and was given a seven-year sentence of probation that required him to register as a sex offender and forfeit his medical license in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mimi Nguyen Ly

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Mimi Nguyen Ly covers world news with a focus on U.S. news. Contact her at mimi.nl@epochtimes.com

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