Former Beth Israel doctor charged with sexually assaulting patients

Former Mount Sinai Beth Israel Chief of Palliative Care Division Ricardo Cruciani

By Sabina Mollot

A former high-ranking doctor at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, who recently pleaded guilty to committing numerous sexual assaults of female patients at another hospital he worked at, is now facing charges of assaulting six other patients at Beth Israel.

The allegations include rape, forceful kissing and groping during the time Ricardo Cruciani, now 63, served as Beth Israel’s Chief of the Palliative Care Division. He was employed at the hospital from 2002-2014.

At that time, he was responsible for administering treatment to patients afflicted with chronic and debilitating pain disorders that are hard to find treatment for.

After leaving Beth Israel, Cruciani worked at Capital Health Medical Center in New Jersey and later Pennsylvania’s Drexel University neurology department.

The investigation into the Beth Israel-related accusations began when one of the alleged victims, who has identified herself to news sources as Hillary Tullin, reported the doctor to the D.A.’s sex crimes hotline. Cruciani was later arrested in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and on Tuesday, extradited to New York City.

The Times reported that he pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to the New York assaults. Cruciani’s attorney, Mark Furman, wasn’t available for comment.

Last November, Cruciani pleaded guilty to charges he’d sexually assaulted and forcibly touched women in his care at Drexel University, but those were misdemeanor charges that got his license revoked and seven years probation as a sex offender rather than jail time.

“When patients seek medical care, they place an enormous amount of trust in their providers,” said District Attorney Cy Vance. “As alleged in the indictment, Ricardo Cruciani is charged with violating this trust by exploiting the power imbalance inherent in the doctor-patient relationship and sexually assaulting half a dozen women in his care.”

Vance has advised any victims of a sex crime that took place in Manhattan to call the sex crimes hotline at (212) 335-9373.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for the Mount Sinai hospital network said it is cooperating with the D.A.’s office.

“We are aware of the criminal charges that have been filed by the Manhattan District Attorney against Dr. Ricardo Cruciani, a neurologist previously employed by Beth Israel Medical Center prior to the hospital becoming part of the Mount Sinai Health System,” the hospital said in a written statement. “Dr. Cruciani’s employment with Beth Israel Medical Center ended in 2014.  We are deeply disturbed to learn about these charges and have been working closely with the investigation being led by the District Attorney’s office.  The Mount Sinai Health System is committed to a safe environment for all patients, faculty, staff, students, trainees and visitors.”

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