A California surgeon who once appeared on a Bravo TV dating show and his girlfriend are accused of drugging and raping two women and authorities believe there could be many other victims. Grant Robicheaux and Cerissa Riley were arrested on September 11 on rape and several other charges, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release.
Robicheaux is a 38-year-old Newport Beach resident who appeared on the Bravo show “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male” in 2014. Riley, 31, is from Brea, California, and has worked as a dance teacher. They are accused of working “in tandem” to supply drugs to their victims and then sexually assault the women while they were unable to consent, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said in the press release.
“The defendants may have traveled together to various festivals and locations since 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,” the district attorney’s office said. Robicheaux and Riley were both released on $100,000 bond on September 17. They are scheduled to appear in court in October.
“All allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Grant Robicheaux and his girlfriend Cerissa Riley,” a statement provided to Heavy on behalf of their attorneys said. “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. 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.
“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. They both thank their families and friends for their continued support,” the statement from the couple’s attorneys said.
Meanwhile, Rackauckas said the couple used their looks and status to gain the trust of the alleged victims.
“People often assume rapists are creepy, scary men who lunge out from hiding amongst bushes and attack unsuspecting women. The reality is that rapists come in all socioeconomic groups, any background,” Rackauckas said at a press conference on September 18. “It’s important to understand that rapists can look like anyone. They can be anyone. They can be either gender.”
He continued, “This morning, my office is announcing the filing of charges and arrest of well-known orthopedic surgeon Grant Robicheaux and his female companion Cerissa Riley. In the materials we’ve seized, there are thousands and thousands of videos and images on Robicheaux’s phone, many also including Riley, which we’re now meticulously going through. There are several videos where the women in the videos appear to be highly intoxicated beyond the ability to consent or resist and they’re barely responsive to the defendant’s sexual advances. Based on this evidence, we believe there may be many unidentified victims out there.”
Here’s what you need to know about Grant Robicheaux and Cerissa Riley:
1. The DA Says Robicheaux & Riley ‘Used Their Good Looks & Charm to Lower the Inhibitions of Their Potential Prey’
According to prosecutors, the first incident occurred in April 2016, when Grant William Robicheaux and Cerissa Laura Riley met the 32-year-old victim at a Newport Beach restaurant. On April 10, the couple invited her to a party in Newport Beach and then escorted her to their apartment “once she was intoxicated,” the district attorney’s office said.
“The defendants are accused of supplying multiple drugs to the victim then raping and orally copulating her while she was prevented from resisting due to intoxicating and controlled substances and they should have reasonably known of her condition,” according to the press release. The woman went to the Newport Beach Police Department the next day and underwent a forensic exam, which tested positive for multiple controlled substances, according to prosecutors.
The district attorney’s office said Robicheaux and Riley met the second victim at a Newport Beach bar on October 2, 2016. They are accused of drinking alcohol with her until she was “no longer conscious.” Prosecutors say the couple then brought her back to Robicheaux’s apartment, where they are accused of “sexually assaulting her with intent to commit rape.” According to the press release, the woman woke up and screamed for help until a neighbor called police, who responded and investigated the case.
Rackauckas told reporters there is no evidence any of the alleged crimes took place in a medical setting. He also said they don’t know whether all the incidents happened the same way. “But we do see is that there is bar, the couple is in a bar, Cerissa introduces her, meets the lady and then introduces her to Robicheaux and then they invite her to a party.” In one case, the party was on a boat, Rackauckas said. “She’s having some drinks, she feels more intoxicated by the drinks than would ordinarily be expected, pretty soon she’s very intoxicated and hardly knows what’s going on. They take her to his apartment and perform all of these sex acts on her. So that’s the general way that we’ve seen it.”
Rackauckas said at the press conference, “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. 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. We believe the defendants used their good looks and charm to lower the inhibitions of their potential prey.”
Robicheaux was charged with rape by use of drugs, oral copulation by anesthesia or controlled substance, assault with intent to commit sexual offense, four counts of possession of a controlled substance for sale and two counts of possession of an assault weapon. He additionally faces sentencing enhancements for being “personally armed with (a) firearm during health and safety code violation.”
Riley was charged with rape by use of drugs, oral copulation by anesthesia or controlled substance, assault with intent to commit sexual offense and four counts of possession of a controlled substance for sale, with a sentencing enhancement for being “knowingly vicariously armed with firearm.”
Rackauckas said there were a “number of drugs” found in Robicheaux’s apartment, including ecstasy, date rape drug and cocaine, “nothing that would be a pure anesthetic.” Rackauckas said none of the drugs appeared to have come from a hospital or medical setting, but were more of the “illegal type,” not “hospital anaesthetic.”
If found guilty, Robicheaux, who is an orthopedic surgeon, faces up to 40 years in state prison. Riley faces up to 30 years. The case remains open and additional charges could be filed. Both are scheduled to be arraigned October 24. It is not clear if they have hired attorneys. The California Medical Board has launched an investigation into Robicheaux, Rackauckas said. Robicheaux does not have a prior criminal record and Riley’s record only includes traffic citations.
2. Police Found Drugs, Guns, Videos & Photos of the Victims & Other Women While Searching Robicheaux’s Apartment
Police searched Robicheaux’s apartment on January 9, 2018, and found “large quantities of illegal drugs,” which the couple is accused of possessing. They also found two “illegal, unregistered assault rifles, four other firearms and several large capacity magazines,” which Robicheaux is accused of possessing.
Detectives submitted the case to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office for review on September 6 and after charges were filed on the 11th, the couple was arrested on September 12, the DA said. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said his office worked with the Newport Beach Police Department to find evidence that broke the case and led to the charges.
“We have all these videos and a lot of the women on those videos look like they’re not able to consent. They look like they’re certainly past that point. Some appear to be intoxicated to the point of unconsciousness or near unconsciousness,” the district attorney said. Rackauckas said some of the videos showed “sex acts.” There is no evidence the videos were posted online or shared, Rackauckas said. The first victim was recorded on video, he said.
He added, “I want women out there to know that the Orange County District Attorney’s Office is taking this case very seriously. We know some victims might blame themselves, they might feel there’s no crime to report because they knowingly drank alcohol or consumed illegal substances with the defendants. But you need to hear this: your conscious decisions to party with these defendants or with anybody using alcohol or other intoxicating substances does not give them a pass to rape, assault or have sex with you once you’re past the point of consent. To do so is a crime.”
“Law enforcement investigating this case believe there may be additional victims. If you believe you have been a victim, or have information related to the crime and about the defendants, please call Supervising Investigator Eric Wiseman at 714-347-8794,” the district attorney’s office said. The case is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Michael Carroll, of the sexual assault unit.
“We believe that if victims come forward, we would be able to identify them as victims based on the videos and other circumstances,” the district attorney said at the press conference.
Rackauckas told potential victims, “we’ll listen to you, we’ll conduct a full investigation and we’ll do so without judgment. It’s a violation of the law to have sex with someone who is unable to consent or to resist due to intoxication. It’s not a viable defense to claim the victim voluntarily ingested or used drugs. We don’t know how many victims there may be out there. We don’t want this to happen to any other woman. We’ve all heard of a wolf dressed up in sheep’s clothing. Well, a wolf can wear scrubs or doctor’s clothing or a wolf can be a beautiful woman.”
3. Robicheaux, an Orthopedic Surgeon Known for His ‘Caring Bedside Manner,’ Was Part of the NewportCare Medical Group & Was Chief Resident at UC Irvine
Dr. Grant Robicheaux was listed as a doctor for the NewportCare Medical Group, working in Orange County, Newport Beach, Mission Viejo and Orange, according to an archive of the website provided to Heavy by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. NewportCare Medical Group did not respond to a request for comment about Robicheaux from Heavy.
“Dr. Robicheaux is a Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon per the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery with advanced additional subspecialty training in treating the upper extremity. His emphasis is on bone and soft tissue traumatic and sports-related injuries as well as those due to overuse, arthritis and aging. His expertise also extends to athletic and overuse injuries about the lower extremity, as well as joint replacement. By utilizing all non-operative and alternative therapies complimented with minimally invasive and microsurgical techniques Dr. Robicheaux strives to provide a holistic patient-specific approach to efficiently improve his patients quality of life,” the medical group’s website said in Robicheaux’s bio.
According to the district attorney’s office, Robicheaux graduated from Louisiana State University medical school in 2007. Robicheaux also completed his undergraduate degree in biological sciences at LSU. He then completed his residency at the University of California, Irvine, and spent a year as a fellow at the New York University Hospital for Joint Disease. He was licensed by the California state medical board in 2009, the district attorney’s office says.
“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. On the way to graduating at the top of his medical school class, he was the school’s Vice-President and the Surgical Society President, along while accumulating numerous awards and scholarships. This allowed him to train at his top choice of Orthopaedic Surgical Residencies, the University of California Irvine, where he excelled in all aspects of Orthopaedic Surgery becoming a Chief Resident,” the NewportCare Medical Group website said about Robicheaux.
The website said, “Through out his career Dr. Robicheaux has had several publications, given numerous talks and received multiple awards all while staying involved in resident education and training as well as his professional and local communities. He is currently affiliated with the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Society for Surgery of the Hand and the California Orthopaedic Association.” According to the medical group, Robicheaux served as a medical volunteer in Recife, Brazil, and founded a group called “Giving In Good Hands Ortho,” with a mission of providing medical care to underserved regions and teaching people in those areas to care for themselves.
The bio added, “Residing in Orange County, when not caring for his patients or volunteering locally and abroad, Grant enjoys cooking, surfing, tennis, fishing, hiking and mountain biking. He appreciates a healthy active lifestyle and understands the importance of quickly getting his patients back to theirs by combining all necessary treatment modalities.”
4. He Appeared on ‘Online Dating Rituals of the American Male’ With a Goal to ‘Find the Perfect Woman, Have a Fantasy Wedding & Raise the All-American Family’
In 2014, Grant Robicheaux appeared on the short-lived Bravo reality TV series, “Online Dating Rituals of an American Male,” as one of two participants on the fifth episode of the show’s lone season. Robicheaux was billed as “Grant R.” on the show. His section of the episode was titled, “Three’s a Crowd.” The Bravo website says, “Grant, is a 33-year-old orthopaedic surgeon who was recently named Orange County’s “Most Successful and Eligible Bachelor.” Even though he seems pretty mellow about the title, he’s really not. The truth is Grant is looking for someone just like him—perfect. And once he does, he has a bunch of plans for their perfect life together, including twins (one boy and one girl, natch). The thing that Grant doesn’t seem to realize is that he is very clearly in love with his roommate’s girlfriend … Oh, P.S., all three of them live together.”
The website states Robicheaux, “has a plan: to find the perfect woman, have a fantasy wedding and raise the All-American family. With guidance from his roommate, Grant turns to online dating to find the woman of his dreams.”
The episode is still available on Bravo’s website. During the episode, Robicheaux went on dates with three women he picked out of online dating profiles provided by the show’s producers. During the first date, Robicheaux told the woman, “I want a destination wedding, I wanna crush the plates, I wanna be carried in a chair. I want the best of everything!” She told him her dream wedding consisted of “getting drunk and having sex.”
On his second date, Robicheaux learned the woman he was with didn’t drink, which was a “no-go on his perfect checklist,” according to the Bravo website. On the third date, Robicheaux invited the woman onto a boat with his roommate and his roommate’s girlfriend. “wasn’t super freaked out about the foursome date, or the fact that she was alone with a stranger she met on the Internet and his accomplices friends on a boat with no escape, but she was pretty freaked out when (the roommate’s girlfriend) asked her if she was a virgin,” the website says in the synopsis of the episode. At the end of the show, Robicheaux decided to continue his dating search.
5. Riley Was Married in 2011 & Divorced in 2017 & Has Worked in Sales, as a Dancer Teacher & as a Substitute in the Fullerton School District
Cerissa Riley, who was born Cerissa Gilligan, was married in 2011, public records show. She was divorced in 2017, according to Orange County court records. Rackauckas said he did not know when or where Riley and Robicheaux met. A video posted on YouTube by Riley in January 2016 shows her and Robicheaux on a trip to Mexico. Along with Brea, California, Riley has lived in Anaheim and Costa Mesa, California, and in Orem, Utah, according to public records.
Another video posted last year titled, “HEY JIMMY KIMMEL – I TOLD MY KIDS I ATE ALL THEIR HALLOWEEN CANDY,” shows Riley and Robicheaux talking to a young boy. It is not clear if the boy is Riley or Robicheaux’s son. The divorce records show that Riley and her ex-husband did not have any children together. Other videos show Riley providing instructions for children’s dance performances and directing those dance recitals.
Riley works as sales coordinator for a bus and transportation company in Orange, California, called Transportation Charter Services (TCS), according to a now-deleted bio on the company’s website. “Cerissa has been a part of the TCS team since 2005. While earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Dance, Cerissa worked as an Administrative Assistant at TCS. She now works in the Charter Sales Department of the company. She loves being a part of the TCS family and enjoys working with all of our clients,” the website said.
“We are shocked to learn of the arrest of Cerissa Riley, one of our employees. Her alleged actions do not reflect the values of our company. At this time, she has been suspended pending further investigation,” TCS said in a statement. “We take this matter very seriously and pledge our assistance to local authorities.”
The Fullerton school district did not immediately return a request for comment.
“On the side, Cerissa is a Dance Teacher and also works for the Fullerton School District as a substitute teacher,” the website states. Rackauckas said at Tuesday’s press conference that they do not have details about Riley’s teaching career and did not know if she was still employed as a teacher. According to public records, Riley worked as a substitute teacher at Fullerton Elementary in 2014 and 2015. As of October 2017, Riley was studying education at California State University, Fullerton.
Riley graduated from Chapman University in Orange with a degree in dance and worked as a dance teacher for junior high and high school students, according to a video on her YouTube channel. “I am a student, a dancer and a sales manager,” she says in the video. I have taught musicals to different elementary schools and I have substituted for elementary and junior high schools.” She said in the video her goal was to acquire a physical education credential with an authorization in dance and become the director of a high school dance department. She said she wants to “motivate, support and encourage my students to be healthier and active throughout their life.”
Riley said in the video, “From teaching beginner dancers to elite dancers, my goal is to teach adolescents to always try their best in all that they do. Having my students learn the importance of health and fitness, and teaching them how to maintain an active lifestyle is the most important (thing) in teaching physical education.”