Accused of Predatory Sexual Assault, like disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, Dr. Ricardo Cruciani, is back in court in Manhattan on Thursday, October 25th. He’s been charged with misusing his power differential to sexually exploit his patients. The judge, Hon. Mark Dwyer, will provide decisions on motions submitted by defense attorney Mark L. Furman and Assistant District Attorney Branch.
In Cruciani’s case, his patients suffered intense, chronic pain. As a neurologist and pain specialist, he’d provided relief, but allegedly extracted sexual favors in order to do so, including oral sex and vaginal penetration. As one victim reported, she’d been treated by several doctors, but only Cruciani provided her with the relief she desperately needed. She feared that refusing his sexual demands would return her to a state of debilitating pain. He’d medicated her with opiates and required office visits to renew her prescriptions.
She was not alone. The case against Cruciani includes complaints by six additional victims who were treated by him at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel Hospital. At least 11 more patients have stepped forward citing similar conduct at Cruciani’s practices in Philadelphia and New Jersey.
Duress and fear vitiates consent
All cases of sexual assault should rest on whether or not the offender’s sexual conduct had been consented to, and the concept of consent should be clearly defined as “freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement, #FGKIA.” But in NY, no such definition exists in penal code. If it did, inducing sexual conduct by a power differential could not be considered “consent” because agreement would not be “freely given.”
Both Cruciani who wielded undue influence as a pain doctor and Weinstein who wielded undue influence as a movie producer, would both be guilty of sexual assault if sexual conduct, indeed, took place. Without a clear definition of consent; however, even though the inducement for sex was similar in both the Cruciani and Weinstein cases, the outcomes could be vastly different.
By watching the determinations made by Judge Mark Dwyer on the Cruciani case, we should be able to predict how Judge James Burke will decide his rulings on the Weinstein case. After all, what’s good for the predatory goose, is good for the predatory gander.
To learn more about consent, watch this TEDx Talk and share it with everyone you know!
To help pave the way for new laws on consent, read Your Consent, the Key to Conquering Sexual Assault