Charges will be dropped against ex-California surgeon, girlfriend in high-profile rape case

All criminal charges will be dropped against a California reality TV show surgeon accused of drugging and sexually assaulting seven women with his girlfriend, according to a release on Tuesday by The Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

"District Attorney Todd Spitzer announced today that all criminal charges will be dropped against a 39-year-old Newport Beach orthopedic surgeon and reality television star Grant Robicheaux and his 33-year-old girlfriend Cerissa Riley who were accused of drugging and sexually assaulting seven women," the release said.

Prosecutors had determined there is no "provable evidence" that Robicheaux and Riley "committed any sexual offense."

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Grant William Robicheaux, 38, and Cerissa Laura Riley, 31, were charged Tuesday with sexually assaulting two women by use of drugs, officials say.

Grant William Robicheaux, 38, and Cerissa Laura Riley, 31, were charged Tuesday with sexually assaulting two women by use of drugs, officials say. (Orange County District Attorney’s Office)

Spitzer announced their months-long review indicated there was no visual evidence depicting an incapacitated woman being sexually assaulted by Robicheaux or Riley. The review also acknowledged that not a single independent witness said they saw the defendants sexually assault an unconscious woman.

“My sworn duty as the elected district attorney is not to secure convictions,” said Spitzer. “My sworn duty is to pursue justice and ensure that the rights of victims and defendants are protected."

The release said that Spitzer's predecessor, Tony Rackauackas, admitted in a sworn deposition last June that "he used the case to garner media attention to help his re-election campaign."

Spitzer called it a "travesty."

"The prior District Attorney and his chief of staff manufactured this case and repeatedly misstated the evidence to lead the public and vulnerable women to believe that these two individuals plied up to 1,000 women with drugs and alcohol in order to sexually assault them – and videotape the assaults," Spitzer said, according to the release.

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In 2018, Robicheaux and Riley had been detained on a $1 million bail as they faced charges of kidnapping and rape by use of drugs, among other crimes. Robicheaux, an orthopedic surgeon who once appeared on reality Bravo TV show “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male,” faced up to 82 years in prison to life if convicted and Riley faced up to 63 years.

"While I cannot undo the injustice that has already been done in this case, I can – and I will – continue to fulfill my legal and ethical obligations as the elected District Attorney of Orange County and dismiss all criminal charges against Dr. Grant William Robicheaux and Cerissa Laura Riley," Spitzer said.

Authorities suggested there could be “thousands of victims” of the couple. “I have not seen a case in my career that involved this many videos and sexual acts and possible crimes,” then-District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said in September 2018.

They believed Robicheaux and Riley used their looks to prey on the alleged victims. “We believe the defendants used their good looks and charms to lower the inhibitions of their potential prey,” Rackauckas said. “We've all heard of a wolf in sheep's clothing. Well, a wolf can wear scrubs or doctor’s clothing. Or a wolf can be a beautiful woman.”

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“There are thousands and thousands of videos and images. ... There are several videos where women in the videos appear to be highly intoxicated, beyond the ability to consent or resist. They are barely responsive to the defendants’ sexual advances,” he added. “Based on this evidence, we believe there might be many unidentified victims out there.”

Defense lawyers said no such videos existed. Spitzer, the current DA, confirmed this.

“There is not a single piece of evidence or video or photo that shows an unconscious or incapacitated woman being sexually assaulted. Not one,” Spitzer said.

“No one felt any of the charged victims, the seven, could be proven,” Spitzer said.

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The district attorney said he will meet with the victims to explain why the review did not sustain a burden of proof.