A Newport Beach orthopedic surgeon who appeared on a Bravo reality show four years ago and his girlfriend were charged Tuesday with drugging and sexually assaulting two women, and prosecutors are seeking additional victims.
Grant William Robicheaux, 38, of Newport Beach, and Cerissa Laura Riley, 31, of Brea, were charged with rape by use of drugs, oral copulation by a controlled substance, assault with the intent to commit a sex offense and possession of a controlled substance for sale. Robicheaux was also charged with two counts of possession of an assault weapon.
Attorneys for Robicheaux and Riley issued a joint statement flatly denying the allegations.
"All allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Grant Robicheaux and his girlfriend Cerissa Riley," the attorneys said.
Prosecutors contend the pair met one victim at a Newport Beach bar and another at a restaurant, drugged them, lured them to Robicheaux's apartment and sexually assaulted them. One woman who met the pair on April 10, 2016, said they took her to a party and then to his apartment once she got intoxicated, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said Tuesday.
The other victim said she became intoxicated and passed out at a bar on Oct. 2, 2016, and was taken to Robicheaux's apartment, where she was assaulted, the district attorney said. But investigators believe there may be a host of other victims. Rackauckas said investigators recovered more than 1,000 cellphone videos of the alleged assaults and some of the women seen in the videos have not been identified. The two are free on $100,000 bond and are due to be arraigned Oct. 24.
Robicheaux appeared on a Bravo reality TV series called "Online Dating Rituals of the American Male" in 2014, in an episode titled "Three's a Crowd." Drea Renee, who went on a date with the surgeon, said the only "red flag" she noticed was that "the date kind of turned" when she admitted she was not a big drinker.
"I'm not a big drinker and that seemed to be something that he was like 'oh OK you don’t drink, you know, well, see ya,'" Renee told the TODAY Show.
Robicheaux was a surgeon for the NewportCare Medical Group, but he has been removed from the company's website. The medical group previously described him as a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with "advanced additional subspecialty training in treating the upper extremity."
He specializes in "traumatic and sports-related injuries" as well as arthritis and aging issues, according to the medical group. Robicheaux went to Louisiana State University as an undergraduate and for medical school, where he graduated in 2007, Rackauckas said.
"First attending medical school in New Orleans, the soon-to-be Dr. Robicheaux converted his southern gentlemanly upbringing naturally into a comfortable caring bedside manner," the medical group's website previously boasted about Robicheaux.
Robicheaux also studied at UC Irvine in Orange. Newport Beach police submitted their investigation to prosecutors Sept. 6, and the two were arrested Sept. 12, Rackauckas said. The women in the videos, which were found on Robicheaux's phone, "appear to be highly intoxicated," Rackauckas said.
"We believe there may be many unidentified victims out there," Rackauckas said. The two were known to attend festivals dating back to 2015, including Burning Man in Black Rock Desert, Nevada; Dirtybird Campout festival in Silverado; Splash House festival in Palm Springs; and Landmarks near Page, Arizona, Rackauckas said. Anyone who believes they were victimized was encouraged to call investigator Eric Wiseman at (714) 347-8794.
Riley is an aspiring teacher who worked occasionally as a substitute teacher in Fullerton, Senior Deputy District Attorney Michael Carroll said.
The two alleged victims "might have felt a false sense of security" with the pair because they are "clean cut and good looking," Rackauckas said.
"We believe they used their good looks and charm to lower the defenses of their prey," Rackauckas said. The county's top prosecutor assured any other women who may have encountered the pair that just because they may have imbibed heavily it "doesn't give (the suspects) a pass to rape or sexually assault when you're past the point of consent."
It is "not a viable defense to say they voluntarily ingested the drugs," Rackauckas said. "We don't want this to happen to any more women."
Riley introduced herself to the two alleged victims and then brought them over to meet Robicheaux, Rackauckas said.
The drugs they are accused of using include Ecstasy, date rape drugs and cocaine, Rackauckas said. They are not believed to have used medical anesthetic-type of drugs, Rackauckas said. Robicheaux's attorney, Philip Cohen, and Riley's attorney, Scott Borthwick, insisted in their joint statement that they will be strongly fighting the charges.
"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," the attorneys added. "It must be noted that none of the allegations in this matter relate to or concern Dr. Robicheaux's medical practice or patients in any way," the attorneys said.
A patient of Robicheaux's named Kathy told the TODAY Show that the surgeon was known playfully as "Dr. McDreamy."( $__output )
"Just very shocked," she said, "I didn't want to believe it just because my experience was so stellar."