Supervisor Todd Spitzer, who wants to be Orange County’s next district attorney, claims current DA Tony Rackauckas put the public at risk by timing the filing of rape charges against a Newport Beach orthopedic surgeon/former reality television star and his girlfriend to best suit the incumbent’s reelection campaign.
After Rackauckas announced on Friday that more than a dozen more women have come forward with allegations against Grant William Robicheaux, 38, and 31-year-old Cerissa Laura Riley, Spitzer dropped his intended bombshell, which prompted the Orange County District Attorney’s office to release the following timeline.
- April 10, 2016 – The defendants are accused of supplying multiple drugs to Jane Doe 1 then raping and orally copulating her while she was prevented from resisting due to intoxicating and controlled substances and they should have reasonably known of her condition.
- April 12, 2016 – Jane Doe 1 contacted the NBPD and underwent a forensic exam, which tested positive for multiple controlled substances.
- Oct. 2, 2016 – Robicheaux and Riley are accused of drinking alcohol with Jane Doe 2 at a bar in Newport Beach until the victim was no longer conscious. The defendants are accused of bringing Jane Doe 2 to Robicheaux’s apartment and sexually assaulting her with intent to commit rape. Jane Doe 2 awoke and screamed for help until a neighbor called NBPD, who responded to the scene and investigated this case.
- Aug. 28, 2017 – The OCDA receives cold DNA hit from CODIS [Combined DNA Index System].
- Sept. 6, 2017 – OCDA starts working with NBPD and asks for the police reports. OCDA learns there were multiple reports involving defendant Robicheaux.
- Sept. 14, 2017 – OCDA requested discovery from NBPD on the CODIS case for a second time.
- Oct. 11, 2017 – OCDA requested all related reports from NBPD on Robicheaux.
- Oct. 17, 2017 – OCDA received all reports from NBPD who stated victims were reluctant at the time to move forward in the process.
- Oct. 18, 2017 – OCDA provided a list to NBPD for further investigation.
- Oct. 26, 2017 – OCDA and NBPD meet at OCDA’s request to discuss progress.
- Nov. 7, 2017 – OCDA and NBPD meet again at OCDA’s request. NBPD indicates they will work on list provided by OCDA. OCDA Investigator offers to assist NBPD with investigation.
- Dec. 5, 2017 – OCDA initiates a third meeting with NBPD to discuss progress.
- Dec. 27, 2017 – OCDA receives NBPD search warrant and signs off on it.
- Jan. 3, 2018 – Search warrant signed by The Honorable Gregory W. Jones.
- Jan. 9, 2018 – NBPD serves search warrant – personnel from medical board present.
- Jan. 11, 2018 -Follow-up warrant requested for iCloud, Google, and Yahoo. (*Delay occurs in this time period because Apple uploaded all iCloud information to a hard drive, which consisted of multiple terabytes of information.)
- Feb. 23, 2018 – NBPD received hard drive from Apple.
- March 6, 2018 – NBPD submits hard drive to Orange County Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory (OCRCFL) for forensic examination.
- May 4, 2018 – OCRCFL notified NBPD that the hard drive had been decrypted and was ready to be reviewed. (*During this time period, there was a delay because NBPD was processing the terabytes of digital information in an effort to find either additional victims or corroboration for already identified victims.)
- Late August 2018 – OCDA follows up with NBPD to submit all evidence for filing review.
- Sept. 6, 2018 – NBPD submits the case to OCDA for filing consideration and is informed the case is ready for execution of arrest warrants.
- Sept. 11, 2018 – OCDA files the complaint as a walk-through warrant at Harbor Justice Center.
- Sept. 12, 2018 – NBPD arrested Robicheaux and Riley on the warrant.
After Robicheaux and Riley were arrested, Rackauckas held a news conference Tuesday, when he revealed that the doctor, who resides in Newport Beach, is charged with felony rape by use of drugs, oral copulation by anesthesia or controlled substances, assault with intent to commit sexual offenses, four counts of possession of a controlled substance for sale, two counts of possession of an assault weapon and two sentencing enhancements for being personally armed with firearms during health and safety code violations. His girlfriend, who was identified as a Brea resident, faces the same sexual and drug sale charges as her boyfriend plus a sentencing enhancement for knowingly and vicariously being armed with a firearm, according to the district attorney.
However, because of video evidence seized from the couple, Rackauckas said at the time there could be roughly 1,000 victims. At a follow-up press gathering on Friday, the district attorney revealed that around a dozen more women have come forward with allegations against the onetime Bravo reality show bachelor, that authorities have received more than 50 credible leads about potential victims and that the investigation has extended out of state as well as back two decades.
Spitzer’s beef concerns the public being left out of the investigation of the couple from April of 2016 through last week’s arrest. Besides the potential for others who believe they have been sexually assaulted by the suspects to have come forward sooner so investigators would now be deeper into their probes, the time gap left open the possibility that others could have been raped or victimized by the caches of guns and drugs, argues the county supervisor, who has served as a prosecutor and reserve police officer.
“To purposefully sit on a case where two allegations of rape and oral copulation by use of drugs are two years old in conjunction with the seizure of illegal drugs and guns is unconscionable,” Spitzer says in his statement released Friday. “To now hold multiple press conferences to call for more victims when such a call should have been made more than nine months ago when the cell phone video was seized and revealed sex acts is disgusting and politics at its worst. No wonder so many crime victims have turned against the district attorney. How many more women were exposed to illegal acts since 2016 when these allegations first came to light? How many women were exposed to illegal acts since the cell phone was seized so that Rackauckas could time the arrest closer to his election? Who is the ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ now to quote Rackauckas?”
The OCDA statement that came after Spitzer’s volley claims the agency has “been diligently pursuing justice on this case consistent with our ethical responsibilities.”
The statement adds, “Prosecutors and investigators in the Sexual Assault Unit of the OCDA were instrumental in rekindling the investigation on this case after learning about it through a ‘DNA cold-hit’ on a case related to these defendants.”
Prosecutors go on to say that sexual assault cases “and the inherent difficulties involved in investigating such allegations often require additional measures to garner the required corroboration to obtain evidence necessary to fulfill our prosecutorial burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Citing the multiple meetings between the OCDA and Newport Beach Police Department before charges were filed, Rackauckas’ office claims, “Much of the information required in this prosecution involved the need to obtain, decrypt and analyze terabytes of digital evidence through search warrants from technology companies.”
The agency also swatted back the notion that it put the public at unnecessary risk by stating, “The OCDA is committed to protecting the public and is determined to devote all necessary resources to investigate the leads that have arisen in this case and to obtain justice for all the courageous survivors who have so bravely come forward to report their victimization at the hands of these defendants.”
In other developments since the Weekly‘s last report on the case:
- A joint statement on behalf of Riley and Robicheaux from their attorneys Philip Cohen and Scott Borthwick denies allegations of nonconsensual sex. “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.”
- Reacting to Rackauckas having said he wants investigators to talk to Robicheaux’s patients, while acknowledging there is so far no evidence that any incidents happened in a medical setting, Cohen and Borthwick say the doctor’s medical practice has nothing to do with the claims nor any of his patients.
- The state medical board is in the early stages of investigating the recently filed criminal charges, but in the meantime Robicheaux’s medical license is active and current, meaning he can still practice medicine. NewportCare Medical Group indicates he no longer works there as an orthopaedic surgeon, however.
- According to court documents, one alleged victim describes Riley and Robicheaux as a “Bonnie and Clyde” duo who worked together to incapacitate her before assaulting her.
- One of the two women identified as victims said that she met the surgeon and his girlfriend on a boat docked in the harbor and, after she felt fatigued and intoxicated, the couple escorted her to Robicheaux’s home, where she was given two pills that left her feeling weaker and more exhausted, according to court documents. She adds that while Robicheaux had unprotected sex with her, Riley filmed them on an iPhone before she performed oral sex on the alleged victim, who claimed she not physically or verbally able to stop the couple.
- Robicheaux’s neighbors told USA Today that the doctor, who was often seen in his scrubs, as well as his Mercedes-Benz G-wagon were familiar sights around his three-story, Cape-Cod-style house on the Peninsula, but both have been missing for some time. Neighbors also remarked that Robicheaux, who they knew as friendly and outgoing, was often seen with Riley.
- Riley and Robicheaux, who was Orange Coast Magazine‘s 2013 “Bachelor of the Year” and Bravo’s Online Dating Rituals of the American Male cast member the following year, may have met women through social media apps such as Tinder and Bumble.
- Lauren Hayden told Inside Edition that she met Robicheaux on Tinder and spent time at his Newport Beach house during their date, but she left after he allegedly became too aggressive. “He just kept trying to rip my clothes off and I kept saying I’m not ready for that,” Hayden said. “I just remember I kept trying to retie my top and trying to keep it on and him trying to grab it off.” Her assessment of Robicheaux: “He’s disgusting, he’s deplorable, he’s a monster.”
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.