A doctor from Philadelphia who specializes in neurology, this week pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual harassment and misconduct. The doctor admitted to committing the crimes to his patients and received a seven-year sentence of probation.
The 63-year-old Dr. Ricardo Cruciani is a former Chair of the Neurological Department of Drexel University. As result of his conviction, Cruciani must register as a Tier one sex offender and will be prohibited from practicing medicine. The sentence was delivered on Tuesday by a Philadelphia County Municipal Court judge. Dr, Cruciani was relieved of his duties in March this year by Drexel University. This was after the University received groping allegations from patients. He had to be fired as he was subject to a criminal investigation.
Cruciani, in a plea deal, pleaded guilty to charges of a misdemeanor, harassment and indecent assault. An attorney representing some of the victims of groping by Cruciani, Jeffrey Fritz, alluded that the victims were not amused seeing that Cruciani was not sentenced to a single day of serving in prison. However, Fritz said that his clients were quite happy that he could no longer victimize patients anymore. The attorney is representing at least 12 women from New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
All these women have accused Dr. Cruciani of similar crimes over the last a dozen years. However, in New York and New Jersey, criminal investigations are still ongoing. One of Cruciani’s patients while he was still practicing at Capital Health Medical Centre, 31-year-old Sara Hicks, said that she followed the clinician to Philadelphia. Ms. Hicks claims that Cruciani was treating her for stomach pains and migraines and said that the Cruciani would proceed to touch her inappropriately during her medical examinations.
Hick made a statement in court that her anxiety had become a daily event and that it was coupled with panic attacks. Hick continued to say that she usually gets tensed when around men and that it was always exhausting to feel that her guard was still up. The first time that Dr. Cruciani got inappropriate with Sara Hicks was in December 2005. She admitted that the doctor touched her chest inappropriately and at that time she was expectant. She realized that she had to resort to bringing along another person whenever she visited Cruciani for her medical examinations. However, she says that Cruciani would continue the behavior even when her sister was in the room.