A disgraced doctor who sexually assaulted his patients was found dead in the shower area at Rikers Island on Monday (August 15). Ricardo Cruciani was convicted on seven counts of criminal sexual acts, two counts of rape, one count of predatory sexual assault, one count of attempted rape, and one count of sex abuse.
An officer found Cruciani unresponsive with a sheet wrapped around his neck just after 5:30 a.m. The guard called paramedics, but they could not save him, and he was pronounced dead about an hour later.
Officials said his death appears to be suicide.
According to the New York Times, Cruciani went to the shower area about an hour before he was found. It is unclear why he was not discovered sooner because guards are supposed to check the area every 30 minutes.
Cruciano's lawyer, Frederick Sosinsky, is demanding answers because a judge ordered Cruciano to be placed in protective custody and put under suicide watch.
"Neither of these conditions were, to our knowledge, ever complied with," Sosinky said.
Officials said they are investigating Cruciani's death. He is the 12th person to die this year in a New York City jail or shortly after being released from custody.
"We will conduct a preliminary internal review to determine the circumstances surrounding his death," New York City Department of Corrections Commission Louis A. Molina said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones."
Cruciani was also facing federal charges for allegedly sexually assaulting patients at his practices in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.