A doctor in Florida who recently died by suicide after being arrested on allegations that he drugged and raped two patients is now accused of similarly attacking at least three other women under his care.
As of Tuesday, five patients of Eric Salata’s Pura Vida cosmetic surgery clinic in Naples had gone to police there and reported that the physician had either sexually assaulted them or attempted to during medical procedures, Adam Horowitz, an attorney for one of the women, said on Tuesday.
Horowitz added that the five women had filed about 11 police reports in total accusing Salata.
The latest allegations against Salata came about eight days after his body was found in a woodland. Investigators determined he had shot himself while out on bond a week after police arrested him on suspicion of raping two of his patients while they were unconscious.
Officers alleged that Salata incapacitated one of the patients – aged 51 – with laughing gas, the anti-anxiety medication Xanax and tequila, which the doctor claimed were forms of pain relief for the procedure she had hired him to perform.
The other of those surgical patients, who was 72, reported that Salata raped her – leaving her lip bruised – after administering laughing gas to her.
Naples police arrested Salata on 21 November, after which he was released on bond. A third woman with similar allegations against Salata then came forward after his arrest made the news.
On 28 November, deputies with the sheriff’s office in Collier county – which includes Naples – responded to a request to check on Salata after he left his home leaving behind two notes, his wedding ring and his credit cards, according to a police report obtained by WINK-TV.
That report redacted the notes’ contents. But deputies ultimately went to the last known location of Salata, who was wearing an ankle monitor that a judge had ordered to track his movements while he was out on bond. There, authorities said they found his corpse in a ditch next to a gun.
Investigators have since said they determined that Salata had intentionally shot himself in the head.
Word of Salata’s growing number of victims on Tuesday came after his arrest and subsequent suicide landed in news headlines across the US.
Salata was scheduled for a court appearance on 19 December on the two counts of sexual battery to a physically helpless person with which he had been booked. He could have faced between six and 30 years in prison for either of those charges if convicted.
At least one of Salata’s accusers had sued Pura Vida for damages by Tuesday, the local outlet WFTX-TV reported.
Pura Vida’s website was no longer online, and calls to the clinic’s phone number were going directly to voicemail. Last week, a recording on the clinic’s voicemail said the facility had closed indefinitely.
The cosmetic surgeon’s downfall follows that of neurologist Ricardo Cruciani, who killed himself in a New York City jail in August while awaiting sentencing for his conviction on charges that he had sexually abused patients. Cruciani, who maintained his innocence, faced a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
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