Two weeks after being found guilty of sexual misconduct against six patients, neurologist Ricardo Cruciani was found dead at Rikers Island on Monday morning. His death was first ruled a suicide.
The New York Times stated that Cruciani, a doctor who specialized in treating chronic pain, was discovered wearing a sheet around his neck in the jail's shower area. Medical professionals arrived, but about an hour later, he was declared dead.
A jury found Cruciani, who was 68, guilty after deliberating for three days. In addition to two counts of rape, seven counts of criminal sexual acts, and one count each of predatory sexual assault, attempted rape, and sex abuse, the jury found him guilty on all 12 counts. On two additional counts, he was found not guilty.
Cruciani, according to a representative who spoke to the Times, was detained in the Eric M. Taylor Center's understaffed general population dormitory portion.
Cruciani entered the shower area at 4:23 in the morning, and an officer discovered him unresponsive at 5:35, according to another official who spoke to the publication. The official was unsure if officers had visited the area Monday morning even though they are expected to do so every 30 minutes.
Cruciani was charged with grooming people by giving excessive amounts of medications and then requesting sexual favors. He "didn’t finish writing my prescriptions until I did something for him," according to one woman.
Cruciani had refuted the accusations of sexual assault, and after the verdict, his lawyer, Fred Sosinsky, announced that he intended to appeal the ruling.
Federal charges against Cruciani were still pending as a result of claims that he mistreated patients for 15 years in his offices in New York City, Philadelphia, and Hopewell, New Jersey.