NEW YORK (AP) — A neurologist who had pleaded guilty to groping women at a Philadelphia clinic was arrested on Tuesday on charges he repeatedly raped a patient in New York City.
Dr. Ricardo Cruciani was taken into custody and will be arraigned in New York on multiple counts of rape and other sex crimes, police said.
The former patient, Hillary Tullin, 45, called a sexual abuse hotline last year and reported that Cruciani had abused her between 2005 and 2012, authorities said.
Tullin told The Associated Press on Tuesday that she testified before a grand jury about two weeks ago.
“I don’t know that he’s going to go gently into the good night, but I’m very hopeful,” she said. “He needs to be locked up.”
The AP does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Tullin has done. She told her story publicly to the AP last year.
Cruciani’s lawyer, Mark Furman, did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
The AP reported in November that at least 17 women in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey had stepped forward to accuse Cruciani of sexual misconduct in encounters dating back at least a dozen years.
Women who said they were sexually abused by Cruciani told the AP that they felt they had no alternative but to continue seeing the Ivy League-trained neurologist, who specialized in rare, complicated syndromes that produce debilitating pain.
Tullin said she too felt she had no choice but to continue seeing Cruciani because he was one of the very few doctors who could treat her condition.
On Tuesday, she praised New York City police and prosecutors for taking her case seriously.
“This is for all the women he tortured and abused and mistreated,” she said.
Two law enforcement officials confirmed Tullin is the woman whom Cruciani is charged with raping. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to provide the names of people who say they have been sexually assaulted.
Cruciani pleaded guilty to assaulting seven patients in 2016 while he was chairman of Drexel University’s neurology department. Under a plea agreement, he was sentenced to seven years’ probation. He also had to register as a sex offender and forfeit his medical license.
“I’m truly sorry if I caused any harm or any pain,” he said at his sentencing hearing.
By COLLEEN LONG and MICHAEL RUBINKAM
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I was a patient of Dr. Cruciani for over a year. Before I say anything about Dr. Cruciani, I wish to comment on the behavior of Drexel university Hospital. I do not exaggerate when I say that it’s behavior toward its pain patients was so despicable, so I humane, so unbelievably self-Serving that as far as I’m concerned, the whole bunch associated with the neurology department, including the hospital attorney and theVEO should all be locked up. As soon as they heard the first rumors ofDr. Cruciani’s problems, they panicked. They closed the pain management department that included not only those who are on the surface, “not sick” because they can walk and talk and write a check on their own but as well patients that were paraplegics, that were unable to communicate, that were fully dependent on hospital aids to do anything. These people, the patients, in the hundreds were, within 24 hours put on the street, given the finger and a list of other pain-management institutions, most of which had just been copied from some other list, had not been investigated as to whether they were suitable , and whether they were taking new payments. I got another month of prescription only because I called the attorney and threatened to sue, something that in most cases falls into the fat-Chancecategory but in this case had an effect because what Drexel was doing was so egregious tat not a court in the world would find in their favor.
To come to Dr. Cruciani. It is so hard for me to link together these horrible crimes ( I consider them crimes not only if they meet the definition of that type of crime in the statutes but as well that the women involved were in no way cooperative in the carrying out of the crime. That justification for continuing to see Dr. Cruciani—that there was no other doctor who could do that particular brand of medicine—is nonsense. Dr Cruciani was a fine doctor, but he was not the supreme being. I was able to get a fine doctor, admittedly some distance away fromPhiladelphia, within a month. Also, there is the ticklish matter of bribery, which, ofcourse, works both ways. But it entirely possible that some of these women no longer qualified for the drugs they were taking, but were willing to pay with their bodies, perhaps seducing him right there in his consulting chambers. This doesn’t condone Dr. Cruciani’s actions but , assuming they all took place, but not as described by the plaintiffs, it puts an entirely different view on them. I might go on, but I close with this. Dr. Cruciani is an extraordinarily caring person, so gentle that unless he is Mr. Hyde, it’s hard to imagine his doing anything by force. All these women and not one immediately reports him. Some continue to see him for years. Reasonably, women have been given the benefit of the doubt in such matters. I suspect that these cries for lock-him-up for the rest of his life often come from people who cooperated and now regret it. As a child sex-abuse victim myself (I’m close to 80), but I am still able to understand that I was not physically injured, I got over the psychological disorientation, and learned to forgive. Dr. Cruciani is not man I would immediately fear to leave alone with my child. Caution being the better part of valor. He is no monster. He is no different than most of you and me. He should not go to prison. He used as judgment—repeatedly, but he is a caring man.