According to Bravo’s website for the show Online Dating Rituals of an American Male, as of 2014, Grant Robicheaux had a pretty typical plan for the future. The Newport Beach orthopedic surgeon wanted to “find the perfect woman, have a fantasy wedding and raise the All-American family,” and had turned to online dating, a quest that was documented in an episode of the short-lived reality series. Four years later, Robicheaux may have found his perfect woman in girlfriend Cerissa Riley, but any plans for their future will have to be put on hold while the couple faces charges that they drugged and sexually assaulted two women — and authorities suspect that there could have been many more victims.
The Mercury News reports that Robicheaux and Riley have been charged with rape by use of drugs, oral copulation by anesthesia or controlled substance, assault with intent to commit sexual offense and possession of a controlled substance for sale. According to Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, the investigation began in the spring of 2016, after a woman reported to Newport Beach police that she had gone to a party with Robicheaux and Riley, who then took her back to their apartment once she was intoxicated and proceeded to drug and rape her. According to Rackauckas, the alleged assault was filmed on Robicheaux’s iPhone; the victim went to police the following day and tested positive for multiple controlled substances.
Six months later, in October 2016, authorities learned of a second alleged victim, who prosecutors say drank with Robicheaux and Riley at a Newport Beach bar “until the victim was no longer conscious.” The couple allegedly brought the woman back to his apartment and sexually assaulted her until she awoke and screamed for help, prompting a neighbor to call police. It’s not clear if she was also drugged, or if the alleged assault was filmed.
However, when authorities raided Robicheaux’s apartment in January 2018, they discovered as many as a thousand videos of women allegedly recorded by the pair, many of them depicting sex acts – including a video of the first victim who reported her alleged assault to police.
“A lot of the women on those videos look like they are not able to consent,” Rackauckas said at a press conference on Tuesday. “Some appear to be intoxicated to the point of unconsciousness or near-unconsciousness.”
“Based on this evidence we believe that there might be many unidentified victims out there,” he continued, urging any women who think they may have been sexually assaulted by the couple to contact Eric Wiseman, the the lead investigator with the DA’s Office.
Authorities haven’t found evidence of a connection between Robicheaux’s orthopedic practice or patients and the alleged crimes. They do believe Robicheaux and Riley may have targeted other victims while traveling to various arts and music festivals, including Burning Man in the Nevada desert, the Dirtybird Campout festival in Woodland Hills, California, and the Splash House festival in Palm Springs. Rackauckas told reporters that prosecutors believe the couple “used their good looks and charm to lower the inhibitions of their potential prey.”
“Women who have encountered these two might have felt a false sense of security due to the fact that both defendants are clean cut and good looking,” Rackauckas said. “We tend to trust doctors who take an oath to do no harm. The second defendant being a female is key. A woman purporting to be his girlfriend clearly paid a significant role in disarming the victims and making them feel comfortable and safe.”
Robicheaux and Riley were not arrested until September 12, one day after charges were filed and less than a week after Newport Beach Police turned the case over to the DA’s Office, which had been involved in the investigation. A spokesperson for the Newport Beach Police Department told the the Mercury News that there wasn’t enough evidence to file charges after the two rape allegations back in 2016, but detectives continued to work on the case until they had probable cause for the January search warrant.
According to prosecutors, the raid on Robicheaux’s apartment also turned over “large quantities of illegal drugs,” including ecstasy, date-rape drugs and cocaine, and two “illegal, unregistered assault rifles,” but it’s not clear why the arrests took another nine months. Rolling Stone has reached out to the Orange County DA’s Office for comment, but has not yet heard back.
Scott Borthwick and Philip Cohen, defense attorneys for Robicheaux and Riley, released a statement denying the allegations of nonconsensual sex, according to CNN.
“They 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,” the attorneys said. “Dr. Robicheaux and Ms. Riley believe that such allegations do a disservice to, and dangerously undermine, the true victims of sexual assault, and they are eager to have the proper spotlight shed on this case in a public trial.”
Robicheaux and Riley both paid their $100,000 bail and will be back in court for their arraignment on October 25th.