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A California doctor who once appeared on a reality TV show and his girlfriend have had sexual assault charges against them dismissed.
In 2018, orthopedic surgeon Grant Robicheaux and his girlfriend Cerissa Riley, a substitute teacher, were accused of luring women to their home in Newport Beach, drugging them until they were unconscious, and then raping them. On Friday, the sexual assault charges were dismissed by California Superior Court Judge Michael Leversen, who said there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed to trial on the sex charges, the Orange County Register reported.
Robicheaux and Riley still face drug charges, and the doctor has also been charged with possession of an assault weapon.
In 2018, when the couple was first charged, then-district attorney Tony Rackauckas said during a press conference that investigators had “hundreds” of videos taken from the couple’s phones showing evidence that they had drugged and raped the women and then filmed the crimes. He was asked during that press conference whether the number could approach one thousand, and Rackauckas said, “I think so.”
Rackauckas lost his re-election bid a few months later. The new DA, Todd Spitzer, decided to re-investigate the case after he saw an unsealed deposition from Rackauckas explaining that he hoped the case against Robicheaux and Riley would help him get re-elected.
“A team of prosecutors with a combined 175 years of experience determined there is no provable evidence that Robicheaux and Riley committed any sexual offense,” according to a press release quoted by The Daily Beast.
The resulting investigation found no evidence to support the charges against the surgeon and his girlfriend. Further, Spitzer accused his predecessor of manufacturing the case.
“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 a statement.
“As a result of the complete case review I ordered beginning in July, we now know that there was not a single video or photograph depicting an unconscious or incapacitated woman being sexually assaulted,” he added.
Spitzer dropped the charges against the couple, but in June 2020, Orange County Superior Court Judge Gregory Jones refused to drop those charges, saying both Rackauckas and Spitzer had used the case to campaign against each other. Later that year, the Attorney General of California took over the case.
In July 2021, charges were dismissed relating to two of the seven women who had accused the couple of sexual assault. Those two women said they no longer wanted to participate in the case.
On Friday, charges of assault with intent to commit a sexual offense were dismissed.