The case against Dr. Grant Robicheaux and his girlfriend, Cerissa Riley, has taken an interesting turn. The Newport Beach physician and his partner were charged with drugging, kidnapping, and sexually assaulting several women in 2018, and it seems the case has now become somewhat of a political football in the state of California.
Now, three of the women who first accused Dr. Robicheaux say they want out of the case after being mistreated and “dragged through the mud” by a district attorney.
The Scandal That Shocked Newport Beach
The case first came to light several years ago, when Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas first announced that Dr. Robicheaux and Riley had been charged with sexually assaulting two women – one in April 2016 and another in October 2016. In both cases, prosecutors say the couple met the women at a restaurant in Newport Beach or bar before bringing them back to Robicheaux’s apartment.
In one case, a woman reached out to the police after waking up in Dr. Robicheaux’s apartment while being sexually assaulted. She screamed for help, leading a neighbor to call 9-1-1. After getting a search warrant to raid his home, police say they found thousands of images and videos of intoxicated women that were filmed by the doctor and his girlfriend. They also found illegal weapons and large quantities of drugs, including ecstasy and cocaine.
A few days after the charges came down, over a dozen people came out with their own allegations against the doctor. At the time, prosecutors described some of these individuals as “potential credible victims.” The allegations went back more than a decade, with several incidents occurring out of state. After sorting through the testimony, the DA announced that it would increase the scope of the investigation to include five additional victims, bringing the total to seven.
“Through the strength of the first two victims, courageous women have come forward, as we believe there are more out there,” said Rackauckas. “Nobody has a pass to rape, to have sexual contact with you when you are past the point of consent.”
Both Robicheaux and Riley pleaded not guilty. Their attorneys dismissed the notion that these encounters were nonconsensual.
“We unequivocally deny all allegations of non-consensual sex and absolutely deny any allegations that we have ever secretly drugged anyone for the purpose of having sex with them,” a statement from the couple read. “We have both passed polygraph tests on each of the questions and we look forward to the truth coming out.”
Backing Out of the Case
The case then went to newly elected Orange County DA Todd Spitzer, who replaced Rackauckas in 2020. Spitzer caused a stir when he announced that prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to proceed with the case. He also accused Rackauckas, a political rival, of mishandling the initial investigation. In court papers, the new DA described Robicheaux and Riley as swingers and their sexual episodes and drug use as consensual.
“We have represented to the court on multiple occasions that we do not have the evidence to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt, and therefore we cannot legally, ethically, and morally proceed with the prosecution of this case,” Spitzer said at the time. “My sworn duty is to pursue justice and ensure that the rights of victims and defendants are protected, and we are reviewing the court’s ruling to determine the next steps for this case.”
However, Judge Gregory Jones declined to dismiss the case before the victims had a chance to testify.
“The public has heard from the politicians. The public has never heard from the alleged victims. Any objective analysis of this case leads to the conclusion that these charges should be put before a jury,” Jones wrote. “A back-room dismissal by prosecutors without the alleged victims ever having the opportunity to be heard is contrary to the core values of our legal process and the interests of the public.”
Last month, the CA Attorney General’s office filed a motion asking the court to scale back the charges against the couple, citing a lack of evidence.
The attorneys representing the victims were quick to criticize the AG’s decision to dismiss five counts of rape and three counts of kidnapping against Robicheaux and Riley, bringing the scope of the case down to just one victim instead of seven. They also accuse Spitzer and his colleagues of collaborating with the lawyers representing Robicheaux to sabotage the case.
Now, three of the women say they are dropping out of the case. Deputy Attorney General Yvette Martinez said the women “had an elected official who was supposed to advocate on their behalf drag them through the mud.” “They were grossly mistreated,” she added.
In previous comments, law enforcement officials accused the victims of not cooperating with the investigation, but it’s not clear if these are the same women who want to drop out of the case.
Judge Bromberg has indicated that he expects to rule on the AG’s request to dismiss some of the charges against Robicheaux and Riley on July 10th.