Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said Friday his office has received about 50 phone calls leading to more than 12 credible leads to potential additional victims in their probe of a Newport Beach surgeon and his girlfriend, who are charged with drugging and sexually assaulting two women.
Rackauckas said that in regard to 38-year-old Dr. Grant Robicheaux, investigators are looking into possible crimes dating back as far as two decades ago.
“We’re expanding our inquiries to several states and as well as other parts of California,” he said. “We now believe that Robicheaux and (Cerissa Laura Riley) not only met their prey in person at bars and restaurants, but Robicheaux may have targeted victims through dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble.
“Ladies, please be careful when you meet people on these kinds of apps. You don’t know what’s behind … what appears to be a perfect smile.”
Robicheaux and Riley, 31, of Brea, are charged with rape by use of drugs, oral copulation by a controlled substance, assault with the intent to commit a sex offense and possession of a controlled substance for sale. Robicheaux is also charged with two counts of possession of an assault weapon.
When Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announced charges against Robicheaux and Riley on Tuesday, he called on anyone who suspects they were a victim to come forward. He noted that investigators discovered more than 1,000 videos of Robicheaux’s cell phone of alleged assaults, and many of the women depicted in them were unidentified.
His office announced Wednesday that three additional women had come forward — one alleging she was victimized in Las Vegas and other saying her alleged encounter with the physician occurred in Manhattan, where Robicheaux studied at New York University Hospital.
Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer, who is running to unseat Rackauckas in November, faulted the incumbent for not warning the public earlier about the potential threats from the accused. Spitzer said prosecutors signed a search warrant in the case on Dec. 27.
“So the district attorney has known about this for almost a year,” Spitzer said.
Spitzer said Rackauckas or Newport Beach police should have warned the public about the suspects in January after guns and drugs were seized in a search. Spitzer also argued that Rackauckas should have filed charges in January and called for victims to come forward then.
“He’s literally jeopardizing these victims’ safety by delaying a call for additional victims,” Spitzer said.
If charges had been filed in January prosecutors by now could have been seeking a higher bail by now, Spitzer said.
Asked about the timing of the case Friday, Rackauckas said his office became aware of the case “a few months ago, with a DNA result that did not come back to these defendants but it caused us to become aware that this case existed.”
“Since then we’ve been working with Newport (Beach police) to put together the search warrant and develop the evidence and bring the case,” he said. “They (police) gave us the case to file in September.”
Robicheaux’s attorney, Philip Cohen, and Riley’s attorney, Scott Borthwick, issued a joint statement earlier this week flatly denying allegations they engaged in any non-consensual sexual activity.
“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 attorneys 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,” the attorneys said.
In the two cases that have resulted in criminal charges, prosecutors contend the pair met one victim at a Newport Beach bar and another at a restaurant, drugged them, lured them to Robicheaux’s apartment and sexually assaulted them.
One woman who met the couple on April 10, 2016, said they took her to a party and then to the doctor’s apartment once she got intoxicated, Rackauckas said. The other alleged victim said she became intoxicated and passed out at a bar on Oct. 2, 2016, and was taken to Robicheaux’s apartment, where she was assaulted, the district attorney said.
Riley introduced herself to the two alleged victims and then brought them over to meet Robicheaux, according to Rackauckas, who said the drugs they are accused of using include Ecstasy, date rape drugs and cocaine.
They are not believed to have used medical anesthetic-type of drugs, he said.
Robicheaux appeared on a Bravo reality TV series called “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male” in 2014, in an episode titled “Three’s a Crowd.”
He earned his undergraduate and medical degrees at Louisiana State University, graduating in 2007, and did his residency at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange.
Robicheaux was employed as a surgeon at NewportCare Medical Group, but was been removed from the company’s website on Tuesday.
Riley is an aspiring educator who worked occasionally as a substitute teacher in Fullerton, Senior Deputy District Attorney Michael Carroll said.
Newport Beach police submitted the results of their investigation to prosecutors Sept. 6, and the defendants were arrested Sept. 12. They are both free on $100,000 bonds and are due to be arraigned Oct. 25 at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.
Anyone who believes they were victimized was encouraged to call investigator Eric Wiseman at (714) 347-8794.