More than six women accuse Orange County surgeon and his girlfriend of sexual assault
More women have come forward with allegations that they were sexually assaulted by an Orange County surgeon and his girlfriend. according to Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas.
As more than half a dozen women came forward Wednesday to accuse a Newport Beach surgeon and his girlfriend of sexually assaulting them, one alleged victim described the couple as a “Bonnie and Clyde” team who drugged her and then forced her to participate in sexual acts, according to court documents.
The new accusers have come forward just one day after Orange County prosecutors charged Dr. Grant Robicheaux, 38, and Cerissa Laura Riley, 31, with rape by drugs, oral copulation by anesthesia, assault with intent to commit sexual offenses and other crimes.
Some of the women lodging new allegations are from outside California, and investigators are continuing to vet more possible victims, said Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff at the Orange County district attorney’s office.
Also on Wednesday, the Medical Board of California said it has opened an investigation into Robicheaux’s conduct.
Attorneys for Robicheaux and Riley said the two “unequivocally” deny the allegations of nonconsensual 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,” lawyers 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.”
The charges filed this week stem from complaints made by two women who separately told police they were brought to Robicheaux’s house on 44th Street and assaulted.
According to documents filed in court, one of the women told police that it was in April 2016 that she met Robicheaux at China Palace, a restaurant and bar located on Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach. The two exchanged phone numbers, and about a week later, the woman accepted an invitation to meet aboard a boat docked in Newport Harbor along with Robicheaux, Riley and several others.
The woman told police that after the boat ride, she was “very tired and very intoxicated” and boarded a golf cart with Robicheaux and Riley back to the doctor’s home, where she was unable to walk and had to be helped inside. The couple carried her upstairs to a bed, she said, where the doctor gave her two pills and she “immediately felt lethargic.”
The woman told police that Robicheaux then had unprotected sex with her while Riley filmed it with an iPhone in a light blue case. She also told police that Riley performed oral sex on her.
“The victim felt paralyzed by the apparent drugs and did not feel as though she could physically resist Robicheaux and Riley while they were having sex with her,” police said in court documents. “Additionally, she did not want to tell them to stop because she thought they may become aggressive with her and she was in no condition to defend herself.”
A toxicology report showed that the woman had cocaine, ecstasy and MDA, a stimulant known as the “love drug,” in her system.
The second woman told police she lost consciousness while drinking with the couple in a Newport Beach bar in 2016. The woman told police she was taken to Robicheaux’s apartment, where the couple began “sexually assaulting her with the intent to commit rape.” The woman screamed for help, and the physician’s neighbor called Newport police, court documents say.
No arrests were made after either incident because evidence initially did not meet the standard to do so. Detectives continued to work the case for two years, however.
As part of that investigation, detectives searched Robicheaux’s home in January and found video of at least one of the alleged victims being assaulted. They also discovered numerous videos and photographs of other potential victims on the couple’s phones, some of which were taken at festivals including Burning Man and Splash House in Palm Springs, prosecutors said.
“There are a substantial number of videos. I cannot tell you if it is tens or hundreds; it is certainly more than tens,” Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas told reporters Tuesday. “It appears [the women] are highly intoxicated beyond the ability to consent or resist; they are barely responsive to the defendants’ sexual advances.”
The search turned up large quantities of illegal drugs, including GHB, MDMA and cocaine, prosecutors said. It also uncovered two illegal, unregistered assault rifles, four other firearms and several large-capacity magazines.
Robicheaux and Riley were arrested last week and released on $100,000 bail each.
After their arrests, the couple have been described by authorities as clean-cut, good-looking people who used their charms to prey on women they would meet in local bars. Rackauckas likened them to a “wolf dressed up in sheep’s clothing.”
“A wolf can wear scrubs or doctor’s clothing,” he said. “Or the wolf can be a beautiful woman.”
Public records and a Hoag Hospital profile identify Robicheaux as an orthopedic surgeon who received his medical degree from Louisiana State University in 2007 and did his residency at UC Irvine Medical Center. He is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who says he repairs sponsored athletes.
Riley has been a substitute teacher in Fullerton, according to a video she appeared in that Rackauckas played at the news conference. The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing lists Riley as having a substitute teaching credential from 2014 through March.
In 2014, Robicheaux appeared on the Bravo show “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male,” which followed him as he looked for a girlfriend. He was declared Orange County’s most eligible bachelor by Orange Coast magazine in 2013 and used the online dating name InGoodHands.
On the Bravo show, Robicheaux talked to a female friend about the kind of woman he wanted to meet.
“I am not looking for a party girl. I am looking for a wife to raise a family with,” he said in a voice-over. “I just won the title of Orange County’s most eligible bachelor,” he says as an image appears of the Orange Coast magazine story, which notes he beat out nine other finalists. “I am trying to find that amazing, beautiful woman.”
Robicheaux told viewers he was the son of a single parent, his parents were divorced and he wanted to be married only once. He is then seen driving a sports car to his first online date at an upscale restaurant.
“I know how many kids I want. I want to have twins,” he told his date.
The woman told the interviewer later, “He seems a little too perfect. There might be some dark skeletons in that closet.”
Times staff writer Anh Do and Times Community News staff writer Hillary Davis contributed to this report.
7:30 p.m.: This article was updated with details contained in court documents and details on new complaints from accusers.
11:55 a.m.: This article was updated with a third woman bringing new accusations against Robicheaux and Riley and additional information about the case and a statement from defense attorneys.
This article was originally published at 9:30 a.m.
The view from Sacramento
For reporting and exclusive analysis from bureau chief John Myers, get our California Politics newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.