Neurologist faces sex allegations in 3 states
A prominent neurologist, already charged with groping patients at a Philadelphia clinic, is facing a growing number of accusations that he preyed on especially vulnerable pain patients at medical facilities in three states, using his impressive reputation as a healer to trap women in long-term doctor-patient relationships marked by abuse.
At least 17 women in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey have stepped forward to accuse Dr. Ricardo Cruciani of sexual misconduct that goes back at least a dozen years, either reporting him to police or retaining an attorney to pursue civil claims, according to an Associated Press review of documents and interviews with the lawyer and three of the accusers.
Women who say they were sexually abused by Cruciani tell the AP they felt they had no alternative but to continue seeing the Ivy League-trained neurologist, who specializes in rare, complicated syndromes that produce debilitating pain. Trapped in bodies that didn’t work, the women said, they viewed Cruciani as their only hope of getting better — and he knew it, taking advantage of their desperation.
Now, as police and prosecutors open a second investigation into Cruciani, some of the accusers and their lawyer want to know how closely the 63-year-old pain doctor was supervised and whether he could have been stopped sooner.
A Philadelphia police affidavit said Cruciani, the former chairman of the neurology department at Philadelphia’s Drexel University, assaulted seven patients in 2016. The women, ages 31 to 55, described unwanted touching and kissing. One patient said Cruciani tried to force her to touch his genitals and then masturbated in front of her.
Drexel fired him in March after an internal investigation. Cruciani is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing on misdemeanor charges that include indecent assault.
“Given that these are ongoing matters, we cannot comment because it could prejudice the proceedings,” said his lawyer, Linda Dale Hoffa. “We will do our talking in court.”
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