Dating show star American surgeon and girlfriend accused of drugging and raping women
A Californian surgeon who once appeared on a reality TV show about dating and his girlfriend have been charged with drugging and sexually assaulting two women.
Grant William Robicheaux,38, and Cerissa Laura Riley, 31, are accused of using their good looks to lure victims to their home from bars and restaurants before drugging and raping them.
Prosecutors said they feared there could be hundreds of victims after finding numerous videos on Robicheaux’s phone showing women “highly intoxicated” and being assaulted.
Dozens of further leads were said to have been generated after the authorities held a press conference on Tuesday urging other women to come forward.
Robicheaux, an orthopedic surgeon, once appeared on the Bravo TV show "Online Dating Rituals of the American Male".
Along with his girlfriend he attended various festivals including Burning Man in Nevada and the Dirtybird Campout and Splash House festivals in California, as well as landmarks in Arizona – trips which are now coming under scrutiny.
Tony Rackauckas, Orange County district attorney, told reporters that the pair are believed to have worked in tandem to identify victims and make them feel comfortable.
"We believe the defendants used their good looks and charm to lower the inhibitions of their potential prey," Mr 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."
The two women who have made the allegations that led to charges said they met the pair in 2016 in Newport Beach, a coastal city just south of Los Angeles, where Robicheaux lives.
One 32-year-old woman met them in a restaurant on April 10 and was invited to a party before being escorted to their home when intoxicated, according to prosecutors.
The pair allegedly gave the victim multiple drugs and raped her when she was incapable of resisting. She called police the next day and a forensic exam found multiple controlled substances.
The second woman was drinking with the pair at a bar on October 2 before allegedly being taken back to Robicheaux’s apartment once unconscious and sexually assaulted.
The district attorney’s office said the victim woke and screamed for help until a neighbour called police, who began an investigation.
The pair also face charges relating to a large amount of illegal drugs as well as two unregistered assault rifles and four other firearms allegedly found at Robicheaux’s apartment.
Mr Rackauckas, the district attorney, said investigators were going through "thousands and thousands of videos and images on Robicheaux’s phone”.
Some show women who "appear to be highly intoxicated beyond the ability to consent or resist, and they’re barely responsive to the defendant’s sexual advances”, he added.
Mr Rackauckas urged potential victims to come forward, saying: "Your conscious decisions to party with these defendants… does not give them a pass to rape, assault or have sex with you once you’re past the point of consent."
If convicted, Robicheaux faces up to 40 years in prison. Riley could face 30 years behind bars. Both have been released on $100,000 bail.
Attorneys for Robicheaux and Riley issued a joint statement on Tuesday, denying the charges.
"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," said Robicheaux’s lawyer, Philip Cohen, and Riley’s lawyer, Scott Borthwick.
"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," they added.
"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."