A once-prominent neurologist convicted final month of sexually abusing sufferers killed himself on Monday at a New York Metropolis jail, two individuals accustomed to the matter stated.
Ricardo Cruciani, 68, was discovered unresponsive in a bathe space in a part of town’s infamous Rikers Island advanced, the individuals stated. They weren’t licensed to talk publicly and did so on situation of anonymity.
Cruciani’s lawyer, Frederick Sosinsky, confirmed in an announcement that his consumer had died, however not the style of demise.
“Ricardo’s attorneys and household are shocked and saddened past perception to have discovered of his violent demise whereas in metropolis custody this morning,” he stated.
Sosinsky known as for “an instantaneous and goal investigation“ into the circumstances of Cruciani’s demise, together with whether or not jail officers complied with a courtroom order, on the time of his conviction, to position him in protecting custody and underneath suicide watch.
“Neither of those situations have been, to our data, ever complied with,” Sosinsky stated. “Had they been, we might not be having this horrible dialogue.”
Cruciani died whereas awaiting sentencing subsequent month in a New York state case during which he was convicted of 12 counts, together with predatory sexual assault, rape and intercourse abuse, and acquitted on two different counts. He confronted as much as life in jail.
He was additionally scheduled to go on trial subsequent January on federal prices accusing him of abusing a number of sufferers over 15 years at his places of work in New York Metropolis, Philadelphia and Hopewell, New Jersey.
Prosecutors stated Cruciani groomed susceptible sufferers by overprescribing painkillers, typically to deal with critical accidents from automotive wrecks and different accidents.
Six girls testified the sexual abuse usually occurred behind closed doorways throughout appointments in 2013 at a Manhattan medical middle, the place the physician would expose himself and demand intercourse.
“I take consolation figuring out he now faces one other decide,” stated Terrie Phoenix, who had testified in opposition to Cruciani at trial.
Cruciani’s act “was on no account an indication of regret or guilt”, stated Hillary Tullin, who additionally testified and who helped gas the case by calling a sexual abuse hotline in 2017. “He merely couldn’t stand going through the remainder of his life behind bars.”
Tullin known as it a “unhappy day for all of his victims who won’t ever get to have finality and by no means have the prospect to handle the defendant to inform him straight how his crimes significantly impacted their lives”.
Jeffrey Fritz, who represents 30 girls who say they have been victimized by Cruciani, together with Phoenix and Tullin, stated lots of his shoppers “really feel cheated of prison justice”.
The AP doesn’t sometimes determine individuals who say they’re survivors of sexual assault until they grant permission, which Phoenix and Tullin have accomplished.
Cruciani denied abusing girls. In courtroom, his lawyer questioned the credibility of his accusers.
On Monday, the hearth division stated it responded to a name of an inmate unconscious on the jail round 5.50am and added that Cruciani was pronounced lifeless on the scene.
Cruciani is at the very least the eleventh particular person to die in a metropolis jail this yr. Final yr, 16 individuals died in metropolis jails – essentially the most since 2013.
The New York Day by day Information was first to report Cruciani’s demise.
The Rikers Island advanced, troubled by years of neglect, has spiraled into additional turmoil for the reason that begin of the coronavirus pandemic, with an increase in demise and damage for these jailed there.
The town has stated it is going to shut Rikers Island by 2027, changing it with 4 smaller jails situated elsewhere.