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Newport surgeon and girlfriend are accused of drugging and sexually assaulting women

Newport surgeon and girlfriend are accused of drugging and sexually assaulting women
Grant William Robicheaux and Cerissa Laura Riley are charged in connection with two sexual assaults. Prosecutors believe there may be more victims. (Courtesy of Orange County district attorney's office)

A Newport Beach orthopedic surgeon and his teacher girlfriend are accused of preying on women at local restaurants and bars, slipping at least one a so-called date rape drug, sexually assaulting her after she was too intoxicated to resist and recording video of her, prosecutors say.

Grant William Robicheaux, 38, and Brea resident Cerissa Laura Riley, 31, worked in tandem, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said Tuesday at a news conference announcing charges against the couple in connection with two alleged assaults. Rackauckas said there may be more victims, citing “thousands” of videos and photos on Robicheaux’s phone, many showing highly intoxicated women.

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Robicheaux and Riley face one charge each of rape by use of drugs, oral copulation by controlled substance and assault with intent to commit a sexual offense, plus four charges each of possession of a controlled substance for sale. Robicheaux also faces two charges of possession of an assault weapon. Both have been released on bail.

Rackauckas said the alleged attacks did not take place in a clinical setting or with drugs that would typically be used for medical treatment. Documents from the district attorney’s office say the pair possessed the drugs GHB, MDMA, or ecstasy, cocaine and psilocybin, or psychedelic mushrooms.

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Attorneys for Robicheaux and Riley said the two “unequivocally” deny the allegations of non-consensual sex.

“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,” Philip Cohen and Scott Borthwick said in a joint statement. “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.”

Grant Robicheaux takes a cruise in Newport Harbor in a screen shot from an episode of the 2014 reality TV show "Online Dating Rituals of the American Male."
Grant Robicheaux takes a cruise in Newport Harbor in a screen shot from an episode of the 2014 reality TV show "Online Dating Rituals of the American Male." (Daily Pilot)

In addition to his work as a surgeon, Robicheaux appeared on an episode of “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male,” a short-lived 2014 reality TV show on Bravo. He wanted “to find the perfect woman, have a fantasy wedding and raise the all-American family,” according to Bravo’s website.

Robicheaux has been licensed to practice medicine in California since 2009. Rackauckas showed photos of Robicheaux, in a white doctor’s coat, in what appeared to be screen shots from videos where he is explaining joint injuries. A NewportCare Medical Group logo is in the images, but Robicheaux was not listed on the group’s website Tuesday.

Riley has been a substitute teacher in Fullerton, according to a video she appeared in that Rackauckas played at the news conference. The California Department of Teacher Credentialing lists Riley as having a substitute teaching credential from 2014 through March this year.

Rackauckas said Robicheaux, being a doctor, and Riley, being a woman, would have been disarming to victims and that victims might have felt a false sense of security because the two are “clean-cut and good-looking.”

“We believe the defendants used their good looks and charm to lower the inhibitions of their potential prey,” Rackauckas said.

In April 2016, Rackauckas said, Robicheaux and Riley met a woman at an unidentified restaurant in Newport Beach and invited her to a party on a boat. The woman drank at the party but felt more intoxicated than she expected, and the pair took her to Robicheaux’s Newport apartment, where she was raped, Rackauckas said. The woman contacted authorities the next day and tested positive for multiple drugs.

In October 2016, Rackauckas said, Robicheaux and Riley drank with another woman at a local bar until she was unconscious, then took her to Robicheaux’s apartment, where she was assaulted with intent to commit rape. She awoke and screamed for help until a neighbor called police, Rackauckas said.

Authorities found drugs and guns at Robicheaux’s home in January, Rackauckas said. In addition to unregistered rifles, he reportedly had four other firearms and several large-capacity magazines.

Rackauckas said there is video of some sex acts and that the woman from the April 2016 case appears in a recording.

If convicted, Robicheaux could face up to 40 years in prison. Riley could face up to 30 years and eight months.

The two are scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 25 at Orange County Superior Court’s Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.

4:55 p.m.: This article was updated with the statement from the defendants’ lawyers.

This article was originally published at 2:25 p.m.

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