A Pennsylvania doctor was convicted for sexually abusing six patients while working in a New York City hospital, prosecutors announced Friday.
Dr. Ricardo Cruciani, 68, of Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, was found guilty of one count of predatory sexual assault; one count of attempted rape in the first degree; one count of Sexual Abuse in the first degree; two counts of Rape in the third degree; and seven counts of Criminal Sexual Act in the third degree.
“Ricardo Cruciani abused his power as a medical professional and knowingly took advantage of his patients’ pain. 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,” said District Attorney Bragg. “Although we can never undo his horrific actions, I hope this conviction serves as a measure of justice for the brave survivors who came forward to share their stories and endured this long and painful trial. Finally, I thank our hardworking team of attorneys for their dedication, diligence and commitment to delivering accountability in this case.”
According to trial proceedings, Cruciani manipulated and abused six patients while working at Beth Israel Medical Center and later, at facilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Each woman had complex pain diseases that led them to seek care from Cruciani.
After developing personal relationships with each patient, Cruciani used his training in psychiatry to ask intrusive and revealing questions about private matters including their childhoods and marital relationships. He also initiated physical contact by stroking his patients’ hair, complimenting their appearance and giving them uncomfortably tight hugs. Eventually, Cruciani proceeded to forcibly kiss and grope the women and compelling them to perform oral sex and have sexual intercourse.
During the trial, it was revealed that Cruciani forced his patients to perform sexual acts in order to receive prescriptions for addictive pain medications and often over-prescribed high doses of pain medications to the point of addiction, ensuring his patients could not leave his care despite the abuse. When the patients tried to seek outside care, some doctors refused to see them because of the high drug dosages they were prescribed. The survivors were left with opioid addictions, sexual trauma, and without proper medical care for their extremely rare and painful diseases.
Cruciani will be sentenced on Sept. 14.