A neurologist dealing with a life sentence after being convicted of sexually assaulting patients died by hanging on Rikers Island on Monday, regardless of instructions from a decide that he be held in protecting custody and beneath suicide watch, Gothamist has discovered.
Ricardo Cruciani is the twelfth individual to die both in metropolis custody or shortly after launch this yr. A source who was not approved to talk to Gothamist in regards to the dying confirmed that he died by hanging. An official post-mortem was nonetheless pending as of Monday evening.
The Division of Correction mentioned in a press release that it might conduct an inside evaluation of the dying, which may even be investigated by the state lawyer common’s workplace and town Division of Investigation. However it was one more instance of what critics referred to as a “deadly” jail system that’s unable to maintain both its employees or the folks in its care secure.
The DOC nonetheless has not confirmed Cruciani was the one that died, as a substitute releasing a press release on Monday that mentioned an unnamed individual on the Eric M. Taylor Middle on Rikers Island had died at about 6:30 a.m. The town’s hearth division mentioned EMS responded to a name about an unresponsive individual round 6 a.m. and tried to resuscitate the affected person earlier than declaring him lifeless on the scene.
Cruciani’s lawyer, Fredrick Sosinsky, mentioned a decide had directed the DOC to position Cruciani in protecting custody and beneath suicide watch. He mentioned it was not clear whether or not that had taken place. The DOC didn’t reply to questions on that difficulty.
“Neither of these conditions were, to our knowledge, ever complied with,” Sosinsky mentioned. “Had they been, we would not be having this terrible discussion.”
Cruciani, 68, was convicted on 12 counts in a Manhattan court last month for sexually assaulting, abusing and raping multiple patients at Beth Israel Medical Center. A jury found the doctor forced patients with pain disorders to have sex with him, and then overprescribed them pain medicine to keep them coming back for more appointments.
“Ricardo Cruciani abused his power as a medical professional and knowingly took advantage of his patients’ pain,” Manhattan District Legal professional Alvin Bragg mentioned in a press release after the trial. “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.”
Bragg’s workplace didn’t reply to a request for remark relating to Cruciani’s dying.
When Cruciani was convicted in New York Metropolis, circumstances had been nonetheless pending in opposition to him from the U.S. Division of Justice and the Mercer County prosecutor’s workplace in New Jersey.
Civil attorneys had been additionally constructing circumstances in opposition to the physician. In 2019, New York lengthened the quantity of years somebody can wait to carry a civil swimsuit for sure intercourse crimes, although the laws solely pertained to crimes that occurred after it took impact. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed one other legislation earlier this yr granting sexual assault survivors over the age of 18 one other yr to sue their perpetrator if the statute of limitations had handed.
Merson Regulation, a intercourse abuse agency that has represented victims in circumstances in opposition to Larry Nassar, Jeffrey Epstein and Invoice Cosby, has been in search of shoppers for potential litigation. Pintas & Mullins, a private damage agency, additionally supplied to signify Cruciani’s victims. Neither agency might instantly remark on how Cruciani’s dying would impression their circumstances.
It is a growing story. Jake Offenhartz contributed reporting.