A neurologist who admitted groping women at a Philadelphia clinic was charged with sexually molesting patients in New Jersey, the third state to accuse him of using his position as a prominent pain doctor to victimize women under his care.
A Mercer County grand jury indicted Dr. Ricardo Cruciani on multiple counts of sexual assault and criminal sexual contact. The indictment, which was returned last week and made public on Thursday, alleged that he used force or coercion to have patients perform oral sex on him and touch his genitals, and that he penetrated them with his fingers.
Seven women alleged Cruciani victimized them between January 2014 and January 2016 while he was chief neurologist at Capital Health’s Institute of Neurosciences in Hopewell Township.
Cruciani’s lawyer, Mark Furman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Cruciani was processed by Hopewell Township police this week and released pending an initial court appearance.
Prosecutors said in a statement that some of the women came forward after reading that Cruciani had been charged in Philadelphia, where he was chairman of Drexel University’s neurology department after leaving Capital Health. In that case, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges involving seven patients and was sentenced to probation. He also had to register as a sex offender and forfeit his medical license.
Last month, Cruciani was charged with rape, sexual assault and criminal sex acts involving six patients in New York City. There, he worked at Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital in Manhattan, where he was responsible for treating patients with chronic and debilitating pain. He pleaded not guilty in that case and posted $1 million bail.
The Associated Press reported in November that at least 17 women in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey had stepped forward to accuse Cruciani of sexual misconduct in encounters dating back at least a dozen years.
Women who said they were sexually abused by him told the AP that they felt they had no alternative but to continue seeing the Ivy League-trained neurologist, who specialized in rare, complicated syndromes.
More than a dozen women are suing Cruciani as well as the health systems that employed him.