A once-prominent neurologist convicted last month of sexually abusing patients killed himself Monday at a New York City jail, the Associated Press reports. Dr. Ricardo Cruciani, 68, was found unresponsive in a shower area in the Rikers Island complex. Cruciani's lawyer, Frederick Sosinsky, called for "an immediate and objective investigation" into the circumstances of Cruciani’s death, including whether jail officials complied with a court order, at the time of his conviction, to place him in protective custody and under suicide watch.
“Neither of these conditions were, to our knowledge, ever complied with,” Sosinsky said. “Had they been, we would not be having this terrible discussion." Cruciani died while awaiting sentencing next month in a New York state case in which he was convicted of 12 counts, including predatory sexual assault, rape and sex abuse, and acquitted on two other counts. He faced up to life in prison. He was also scheduled to go on trial next January on federal charges accusing him of abusing multiple patients over 15 years at his offices in New York City, Philadelphia and Hopewell, N.J. Prosecutors said Cruciani groomed vulnerable patients by overprescribing pain killers, sometimes to treat serious injuries from car wrecks and other accidents.