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Crime News

Sexual Assault Charges Dropped against Reality Star Doctor, Girlfriend after Accusations Prosecutors "Manufactured" Case

Dr. Grant Robicheaux and his girlfriend Cerissa Riley were in a "‘swinging’ relationship, used and shared drugs and alcohol, and sometimes invited other women to join them in sex,” but, the couple's legal team wrote in court documents, "none of that makes them rapists."

By Dorian Geiger
Dr Grant Robicheaux Cerissa Riley G

A California judge has dismissed a controversial sexual assault case against a formerreality star and orthopedic surgeon following accusations prosecutors had “manufactured” the case. 

Dr. Grant William Robicheaux, 41, and his girlfriend Cerissa Laura Riley, 35, were formally accused in 2018 of drugging and raping at least seven women. On Friday, Orange County Superior Court Judge Michael Leversen dropped all sexual assault-related charges against Robicheaux and Riley. The couple still stands accused of drug possession, as well as firearms and poisoning-related charges. Robicheaux and Riley had faced life in prison, if convicted.

“The evidence introduced at the preliminary hearing reflects that Robicheaux and Riley were in a ‘swinging’ relationship, used and shared drugs and alcohol, and sometimes invited other women to join them in sex,” the couple’s legal team wrote in newly filed court papers, per Law & Crime.

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“None of that makes them rapists. The government’s case rests on the unfounded assumption that anyone who engages in casual sex while drinking and using drugs also intends to rape anyone who elects to party with them but ultimately opts not to join them in a sexual encounter.”

Last week’s ruling follows years of bitter political mudslinging between two prosecutors who oversaw the case involving the Newport physician.

Attorney Philip Cohen speaks on behalf of Grant Robicheaux and Cerissa Riley

Former Orange County DA Tony Rackauckas, who initially brought charges against Robicheaux, had initially accused the reality television doctor and his girlfriend of drugging and sexually assaulting hundreds of women.  Rackauckas had also claimed Robicheaux filmed the lurid incidents. 

"There are thousands and thousands of videos and images on Robicheaux's phone, many also including Riley, which we are now meticulously going through," Rackauckas said at a press conference in 2019. "There are several videos where the women in the videos appear to be highly intoxicated, beyond the ability to consent or resist, and they're barely responsive to the defendants' sexual advances. Based on this evidence, we believe that there might be many unidentified victims out there."

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Rackauckas allegedly later admitted in a sworn deposition that “he had used the case to garner media attention to help his re-election campaign.” The former district attorney departed office in 2019 after failing to win a re-election bid.  

Current Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer, however, has publicly disavowed Rackauckas, who he said “manufactured” the high-profile sexual assault case against Robicheaux to score political points. 

“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 in February 2020.

Sptizer’s office first sought to dismiss charges against Robicheaux in 2020, per ABC News

An “exhaustive review” conducted by Spitzer’s office ultimately revealed “there was not a single video or photograph depicting an incapacitated woman being sexually assaulted by Robicheaux or Riley." 

"In fact, the review revealed that there was not a single independent witness who came forward to say they saw the defendants sexually assault an unconscious woman,” Spitzer previously added.

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Superior Court Judge Gregory Jones barred Orange County District Attorney’s Office from prosecuting the case in August 2020, however, the justice stopped short of dismissing the charges against Robicheaux and Riley.

“I have serious questions about the district attorney’s office’s ability to proceed on this case,” Jones told the Orange County Register. “I think they are hopelessly conflicted.”

The case was later transferred to California’s Attorney General’s Office. State prosecutors ultimately moved to have charges against Robicheaux and Riley tossed in July 2021.