SANTA ANA – A well-known Newport Beach surgeon who has appeared on a Bravo reality show and his girlfriend have been charged with raping two women through the use of drugs, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.
Investigators found hundreds of videos of apparently intoxicated women believed to have been filmed by Grant William Robicheaux and Cerissa Laura Riley and have learned the pair attended high-profile festivals across the country, leading police to believe there may be other potential victims, DA Tony Rackauckas said at a news conference at his Santa Ana office.
Robicheaux, 38, of Newport Beach and Riley, 31, of Brea, have each been charged with more than a half-dozen felonies, including rape by use of drugs, assault with intent to commit a s****l offense, and possession of a controlled substance for sale. Rackauckas said women “might have felt a false sense of security” around the pair, because they are “clean-cut and good looking.” “We have all heard of a wolf dressed up in sheep’s clothing,” Rackauckas said. “Well, a wolf can wear scrubs or doctors’ clothing. Or the wolf can be a beautiful woman.”
Defense attorneys in a statement released after the DA announcement indicated that the two “have have been aware of these accusations for a number of months, and each of them will formally deny the truth of these allegations at their first opportunity in court.”
“All allegations of non-consensual s*x are unequivocally denied by Grant Robicheaux and his girlfriend Cerissa Riley,” Attorneys Philip Cohen, and Scott Borthwick said in the joint statement.
According to prosecutors, in April 2016 the couple met a 32-year-old woman at a Newport Beach restaurant and invited her to a party on a boat. Once she was intoxicated, prosecutors allege, the pair “escorted” the woman to Robicheaux’s apartment, supplied her with “multiple drugs” and then raped and orally copulated with her while she was too intoxicated to resist.
The 32-year-old woman contacted the Newport Beach Police Department the day after the alleged s****l encounter, and was found through a forensic examination to have multiple controlled substances in her system.
On Oct. 2, 2016, prosecutors allege Robicheaux and Riley met a woman at a Newport Beach bar, and drank with her “until the victims was no longer conscious.” They brought her back to Robicheaux’s apartment, prosecutors said, and sexually assaulted her until she woke up and screamed for help, prompting a neighbor to call police.
On Jan. 9, 2018, police searched Robicheaux’s apartment and found “large quantities of illegal drugs” – described by Rackauckas as ecstasy, date-rape drugs and cocaine – and two “illegal, unregistered assault rifles,” along with four other firearms and some large-capacity magazines, prosecutors said.
Rackauckas said investigators also found hundreds, possibly more than a thousand, videos of other women believed to have been recorded by the pair, including s*x acts. The first woman to contact police about the pair was among those, the prosecutor said, who was recorded.
“A lot of the women on those videos look like they are not able to consent,” Rackauckas said. “Some appear to be intoxicated to the point of unconsciousness or near-unconsciousness.”
Newport Beach police turned the case over to the DA’s Office on Sept. 6. The couple was arrested at Robicheaux’s residence on Sept. 12.
There wasn’t initially enough evidence to support any arrest in 2016, Newport Beach police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella said. But there was enough to keep Newport Beach detectives attention focused on the case, Manzella said, and the investigators continued to actively work it until they received the search warrant in January and turned the case over to the DA’s Office earlier this month.
According to his online bio, Robicheaux is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in treating the upper extremities. Rackauckas said law enforcement has informed the medical board, which is investigating Robicheaux.
Robicheaux has appeared on a Bravo television show called “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male.” In clips for a 2014 segment called “Three’s a Crowd” played during the DA’s news conference, Robicheaux spoke about living with a woman and her significant other.
Rackauckas said prosecutors do not have any evidence of s****l assaults occurring in a medical setting or involving Robicheaux’s patients. And the prosecutor said the drugs found in Robicheaux’s apartment are not suspected of coming from any hospital or medical facility.
Along with going to bars and restaurants in Newport Beach, Rackauckas said Robicheaux and Riley also attended a variety of festivals during the last few years, including Burning Man in the Nevada desert, the Dirtybird Campout festival, and the Splash House festival in Palm Springs. The district attorney said investigators are looking into whether there were potential victims from those events.
It isn’t clear what Riley currently does for a living, prosecutors said. At one point she was pursuing a career in education, and worked as a substitute teacher in the Fullerton School District. Dr. Chad Hammitt, an assistant superintendent with the district, said Riley’s last assignment as a substitute teacher with the district was in October 2015 and confirmed that the district had received no complaints regarding her conduct.
The alleged s****l assaults occurred after she worked for the district.
Robicheaux faces up to 40 years in state prison if convicted of all counts, while Riley faces up to 30 years and eight months. Both were released from custody on bond and scheduled for a court appearance on Oct. 24.
Authorities are asking anyone with information, or who believes they may have been a victim, to contact Supervising Investigator Eric Wiseman at 714-347-8794.
City News Service contributed to this report.