A Newport Beach surgeon who once appeared on a cable-network reality show pleaded not guilty Wednesday, along with his girlfriend, to charges of drugging and sexually assaulting multiple women in attacks that were allegedly recorded on cell phone video.
Dr. Grant Robicheaux, 38, and Cerissa Laura Riley, 31, both appeared in court in Newport Beach with their attorneys. They had been free on $100,000 bail since their Sept. 12 arrests in connection with alleged assaults of two women, but prosecutors on Wednesday filed new charges involving five additional alleged victims and asked that their bail be increased to $3 million.
A judge instead set bail at $1 million and ordered both defendants to surrender their passports. Both defendants were posting the increased bail and will remain out of custody, their attorneys said.
Robicheaux was charged Wednesday in connection with all five alleged new victims, while Riley was charged with just three of the new alleged attacks, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors contend the pair would take advantage of their good looks to meet women in restaurants or bars, then drug them and lure them back to Robicheaux’s apartment, where they were sexually assaulted. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said last month investigators discovered more than 1,000 cell phone videos of alleged assaults, indicating that hundreds of other women may have been victimized.
The pair were initially charged with alleged assaults involving two women, but Rackauckas said his office quickly received dozens of calls from other potential victims — leading to the additional charges filed Wednesday involving five more women.
Prosecutors said Wednesday they have also identified at least three or four other potential victims, and while the defendants have not been charged in connection with those alleged assaults, their allegations will be used in attempt to show a pattern of abuse by the couple.
In the two cases that resulted in the initial charges, prosecutors contended the pair met one victim at a Newport Beach bar and another at a restaurant.
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, Rackauckas 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 when the criminal charges were publicly announced.
Riley is an aspiring educator who worked occasionally as a substitute teacher in Fullerton, Senior Deputy District Attorney Michael Carroll said.
Attorneys for Robicheaux and Riley have vehemently denied the allegations and criticized Rackauckas and prosecutors for suddenly portraying their clients as dangerous sexual predators in September — despite the initial alleged assaults being reported to police two years ago and the case being presented to the District Attorney’s Office in October of last year.
The charges against the pair include rape by use of drugs, oral copulation by a controlled substance, assault with the intent to commit a sex offense, kidnapping and possession of a controlled substance for sale. Robicheaux is also charged with two counts of possession of an assault weapon.
Robicheaux faces a maximum sentence of roughly 82 years to life in prison, while Riley faces 63 years to life.