A shocking lawsuit filed in New Jersey accuses Dr. Richard Cruciani, a pain physician formerly working at New York’s Israel Medical Center, of sexually abusing seven women under his care. The lawsuit looks to hold both the former doctor and the hospitals that employed him accountable for his actions.
One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Tanisha Johnson, says that Cruciani prescribed potent opioid pain medication for her, increasing her dosage of the drugs and adding other drugs to her medication routine until she became addicted. At the height of her treatment, Johnson was prescribed north of 1,300 doses of powerful pain medication monthly.
After her addiction took a foothold, Johnson alleges that Cruciani became “aggressive,” touching her without permission, performing lewd sex acts in front of her, and eventually, forcing her to perform oral sex on him. When Johnson did not comply with Cruciani’s demands, the doctor refused to refill her opioid medication.
Complaints against Cruciani in New York only drove him to move to three states over a 10-year-period, gaining work each time at hospitals where he allegedly repeated the same behavior. His actions caught up with him in 2017 in Pennsylvania where he was charged criminally due to patient complaints. He entered a plea agreement that forced him to surrender his medical license and submit to the sex offender registry.
The American Medical Association prohibits doctors and patients from engaging in relationships of a sexual nature. All licensed medical professionals are bound by the AMA’s code of ethics to report this type of behavior, although Johnson says this did not happen in her case, and other plaintiffs named in the suit concur.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Johnson as well as six other former patients under Cruciani’s care, alleges that hospital staff and administrators ignored patient complaints about the doctor. When complaints against the doctor began to stack up, administrators allowed Cruciani to change jobs quietly, alleging the plaintiffs. Further, the suit says that they did not bother to warn other hospitals about patient allegations of wrongdoing, nor did they report his actions to the police or other state authorities, even though some plaintiffs say they reported the sexual assaults to hospital staff. This, says one plaintiff, in this case, is how Cruciani was able to continue preying on vulnerable patients.
Perpetrators of sexual abuse can be detained on criminal charges for the crimes they commit, and they can also be held accountable in civil court for the damages they inflict on their victims. These can include:
Although Cruciani is free on a $1 million bond, he faces additional criminal charges in New Jersey (where the lawsuit was filed) and in New York.
A New York City sex abuse attorney with Soloff & Zervanos, P.C. can help you maximize your claim against the perpetrator in your case. Reach out to us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at 866-597-8572.