Before Grant William Robicheaux was accused of rape, he charmed audiences on a reality TV dating show, lamenting how difficult it was for a busy surgeon like him to meet the right woman.
Fast-forward four years, and California authorities say he and his current girlfriend used their good looks and charm to drug and rape two women.
Robicheaux, 38, and Cerissa Laura Riley, 31, are 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. Robicheaux is also accused of firearms violations.
“We believe the defendants used their good looks and charm to lower the inhibitions of their potential prey,” Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said.
After investigating videos on Robicheaux’s phone, authorities worry there may be hundreds more victims. But attorneys for the suspects say they did nothing criminal.
How the alleged attacks unfolded
Investigators believe Riley approached the women at a bar or restaurant, then invited her boyfriend over, the district attorney said.
He said Riley and Robicheaux met one woman, 32, at a restaurant in Newport Beach in April 2016. On another occasion, they invited her to a party and took her back to his apartment once she was intoxicated, Rackauckas said.
Afterward, they drugged and raped the woman, the district attorney said. He said the incident was recorded on video.
The woman contacted Newport Beach police the next day and tested positive for multiple controlled substances.
Six months later, prosecutors say, another woman alleged the couple sexually assaulted her at the apartment after she got drunk at a bar with them.
The district attorney’s office said she woke up and screamed for help until a neighbor called police to the scene. Authorities don’t know if that incident was also recorded, Rackauckas said.
What the suspects’ attorneys say
Attorneys Philip Cohen and Scott Borthwick issued a joint statement on behalf of Riley and Robicheaux denying 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,” 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 district attorney said investigators want to talk to Robicheaux’s patients, though so far there is no evidence any incidents happened in a medical setting.
The defense attorneys said Robicheaux’s medical practice has nothing to do with the claims.
“None of the allegations in this matter relate to or concern Dr. Robicheaux’s medical practice or patients in any way,” the attorneys said.
Riley and Robicheaux each paid $100,000 bail last week when they were arrested. They will be arraigned October 25.
‘There might be many unidentified victims out there’
On the surgeon’s phone, investigators found hundreds of clips of women in various states of consciousness, Rackauckas said.
He said many of the women in the videos appeared unable to consent to sexual contact. Many of the videos also included Riley, he said.
Rackauckas estimated more than 1,000 videos were on Robicheaux’s phone. He did not say whether the same women were seen in multiple clips.
“Based on this evidence, we believe that there might be many unidentified victims out there,” he said.
In 2014, Robicheaux appeared on an episode of Bravo’s “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male.” The district attorney said no women from the Bravo show have been connected with the cell phone videos.
But the district attorney’s office asks that any women who think they may have been sexually assaulted by the couple contact its lead investigator, Eric Wiseman. Authorities noted the couple traveled to festivals such as Burning Man in Black Rock Desert in Nevada, the Dirtybird Campout in central California and the Splash House in Palm Springs, California.