An award-winning former Drexel University neurologist faces seven counts of indecent assault for allegedly inappropriately touching patients, according to recent published reports and court filings.
Dr. Ricardo Cruciani was fired in March after an internal investigation of complaints made by several patients, and he was charged in late September, but the allegations and firing became public as reports surfaced in recent weeks.
After firing Cruciani, now 63, from his role as the chair of the Department of Neurology, Drexel alerted professional licensing organizations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware of its findings, the university said in a statement after NBC10 asked for comment Monday.
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The university said it worked with Philadelphia Police special victims unit investigators and the district attorney’s office, which later pressed charges.
Cruciani is accused of inappropriately touching seven different women and exposing himself to one.
"Drexel is deeply disturbed by the reports that led to the filing of these charges," the university statement read.
Cruciani faces seven counts each of indecent assault without consent, simple assault and physical harassment and one count of indecent exposure following his arrest last month, according to court records. A preliminary hearing for the Philadelphia resident is set for later this month. He remains free on bail.
Prior to joining Drexel, Cruciani – who earned his medical degrees in Argentina – worked at Beth Israel Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and Capital Health Institute for Neurosciences in New Jersey, according to his Drexel biography. Over his years practicing, Cruciani was recognized with Patients’ Choice Awards and Compassionate Doctor Recognitions.
Cruciani's Philadelphia-based attorney Linda Dale Hoffa denied the allegations.
"Dr. Cruciani has a very impressive background as an academic, researcher and medical doctor and he’s been wrongly accused," Hoffa said. "Dr. Cruciani will plead not guilty and looks forward to having the opportunity in court to clearing his name."
Drexel's neurology department focuses its research on epilepsy, movement disorders like Parkinson's Disease and cognitive disorders like Alzheimer's Disease.
Drexel says it’s committed to strengthening its policies for faculty and professional staff and giving support to Cruciani’s former patients.
"Patient safety and well-being is a top priority in all of Drexel’s clinical practices. Drexel has provided support and resources to Cruciani’s former patients, including medical and counseling services and assistance with transitioning to new medical care providers."