Accusers name suicide of convicted neurologist ‘egocentric act’
NEW YORK (AP) — Six ladies who testified in opposition to a neurologist they accused of sexaully assaulting them whereas they have been his sufferers returned to court docket on Wednesday to talk out in opposition to him, this time underneath uncommon circumstances they described as a merciless accident.
Authorities say Dr. Ricardo Cruciani killed himself behind bars shortly after his conviction and earlier than the accusers might give sufferer impression statements at a sentencing that was prone to end in a prolonged jail time period. A decide invited the ladies on Wednesday to offer their statements anyway at a New York Metropolis listening to the place they referred to as Cruciani a predator and a coward.
“I’m actually battling the truth that Cruciani won’t ever go to jail. … or ever be punished,” mentioned one girl who wished her title withheld. “He took away my likelihood to face him as a convicted felon.”
The physician, she added, “turned me right into a drug addict and sexually assaulted me for years.”
Cruciani, 68, was convicted in July of a number of felony counts, together with predatory sexual assault, rape and tried rape. He had denied abusing sufferers whereas working for a number of main pain-management suppliers throughout his profession.
Prosecutors gained a conviction by presenting proof that Cruciani groomed susceptible sufferers by overprescribing ache killers, generally to deal with severe accidents from automotive wrecks and different accidents. His accusers testified the sexual abuse typically occurred behind closed doorways throughout appointments in 2013 at a Manhattan medical heart, the place the physician would expose himself and demand intercourse.
Cruciani was discovered unresponsive final August in a bathe space on the Eric M. Taylor Heart, a jail at New York’s infamous Rikers Island advanced. His demise was dominated a suicide by hanging.
Accuser Hillary Tullin informed reporters outdoors court docket on Wednesday that she felt the demise had robbed her of an opportunity to inform the physician off nose to nose.
“I wouldn’t have minced phrases,” Tullin mentioned. “I might have unloaded in regards to the 12 years of abuse I suffered at this fingers.”
One other sufferer, Terrie Phoenix, referred to as Cruciani’s suicide “a egocentric act” that destroyed her religion within the medical career.
“I don’t belief myself to remain away from predators,” Phoenix mentioned. “This case proves they are often all over the place.”
The Related Press doesn’t sometimes determine individuals who say they’re survivors of sexual assault until they grant permission, which Tullin and Phoenix have achieved.
The accusers additionally pleaded with the decide to reject a protection request to throw out the physician’s conviction based mostly on a authorized provision generally known as “abatement by demise.”
Protection lawyer Fred Sosinsky made transient arguments supporting the request with out responding to the sufferer statements. Sosinsky had argued at trial that the testimony of the ladies was unreliable and that they have been even prepared to deceive again up their accounts.
The decide mentioned she would rule afterward whether or not to protect the conviction.
Earlier than his demise, Cruciani additionally was scheduled to go on trial subsequent January on federal expenses involving accusations that he abused a number of sufferers over 15 years at his workplaces in New York Metropolis, Philadelphia and Hopewell, New Jersey.