A Neurologist Was Convicted Of Raping And Assaulting His Patients After Getting Them Hooked On Opioids

Ricardo Cruciani prescribed his patients highly addictive medicine and then withheld it unless they performed sexual acts on him.

Ricardo Cruciani, a 68-year-old neurologist, has been found guilty of sexual assaulting, abusing, and raping six of his patients under his care at his offices in New York City, Philadelphia, and Hopewell, New Jersey.

Cruciani's patients sought his medical care for their chronic pain disorders, but Cruciani would allegedly overprescribe pain medication to them to keep them in his care and then force them to have sex with him, according to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg Jr.

“Ricardo Cruciani abused his power as a medical professional and knowingly took advantage of his patients’ pain," Bragg said in a news release. "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. 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."

Cruciani left Beth Israel Medical Center in 2014. When reached by BuzzFeed News, the medical center did not have a comment.

Fred Sosinsky, Cruciani's lawyer, told BuzzFeed News in an email that Cruciani is "crushed" by the verdict.

"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," Sosinsky said. "Nevertheless, there were, we are confident, a good number of legal errors committed by the trial court that we look forward to remedying before the appellate courts."

Cruciani used his background in psychiatry to ask his patients questions about private matters, like their childhoods and marriages, eventually developing a personal relationship with them. He would also stroke his patients’ hair, compliment their appearance, and give them hugs until it progressed to him forcibly kissing and groping the women and compelling them to have sex with him.

Cruciani would overprescribe high doses of addictive pain medication and then force his patients to perform sexual acts on him to get the prescriptions.

When the patients sought outside medical care, some doctors refused to treat them because of the high doses they were taking. The patients developed opioid addictions and were left with sexual trauma, according to the Manhattan district attorney.

Tanisha Johnson told the New York Times in 2021 that at one point, she was prescribed 1,300 pills a month. Hillary Tullin said to the publication that she told a psychologist about Cruciani's assaults, but the psychologist allegedly did not report the doctor.

Cruciani was convicted on one count of predatory sexual assault, one count of attempted rape, one count of sexual abuse, two counts of rape, and seven counts of criminal sexual act.

He will be sentenced Sept. 14.