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NYC doctor found dead in prison 2 weeks after conviction for sexually assaulting, raping patients

NEW YORK — A Manhattan neurologist convicted in July of sexually assaulting, abusing and raping six of his patients was found dead at Rikers Island on Monday, authorities confirmed.

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According to a statement from the New York City Department of Correction, Ricardo Cruciani was found unconscious and unresponsive with cardiac arrest at 5:50 a.m. EDT, CNN reported.

Cruciani, 68, was convicted of raping some of his patients and overprescribing powerful pain medication to maintain his control, the network reported.

Documents obtained by The New York Times painted a different picture, however.

Per the documents, Cruciani was found sitting in a shower area of the jail with a sheet around his neck even though his lawyer, Frederick Sosinsky, had called for him to be placed on suicide watch just minutes after he was convicted July 29, the Times reported.

“Neither of these conditions were, to our knowledge, ever complied with,” Sosinsky said in a statement obtained by CNN. “Had they been, we would not be having this terrible discussion. We are calling for an immediate and objective investigation into the actual circumstances of Ricardo’s death, including, most fundamentally, why in the world Corrections failed to follow the Court’s orders regarding placement of Ricardo.”

According to the network, Cruciani was being housed at Rikers Island until his September sentencing, and his death is at least the 11th inmate fatality at a New York City DOC facility in 2022.

The DOC released a statement saying that an investigation will be conducted to determine the circumstances surrounding Cruciani’s death.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of this person in custody,” DOC Commissioner Louis Molina stated, adding, “We will conduct a preliminary internal review to determine the circumstances surrounding his death. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones.”

According to the Times, Cruciani’s death came about two weeks after a jury found him guilty on 12 counts of predatory sexual assault, sexual abuse, rape and other crimes, stemming from his treatment of six patients that he treated about a decade ago.

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