Chapman alumna and surgeon boyfriend face new charges in rape case after five more women come forward

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Grant Robicheaux sits with girlfriend Cerissa Riley, who is a Chapman alumna, in court Oct. 17. The pair face additional charges after five additional women came forward to accuse them of sexual assault. Photo by Paul Bersebach for the Orange County Register, via the Associated Press

Chapman alumna Cerissa Riley and Grant Robicheaux, a Newport Beach couple who were charged last month with drugging and sexually assaulting two women, are facing new charges after five additional women came forward to accuse the pair of sexual assault,prosecutors said.

Robicheaux, 38, has been charged with sexually assaulting five additional women, while Riley, 31, faces charges for assaulting three of those women, said District Attorney Tony Rackauckas at an Oct. 17 press conference the day the couple were arraigned.

Robicheaux and Riley also face new charges of kidnapping three women with intent to commit a sexual offense in 2016 and 2017. They pled not guilty to all charges during their arraignment Oct. 17, according to court records.

In total, Robicheaux has been charged with 17 felonies and Riley with 13. The charges include rape by use of drugs and oral copulation by anesthesia or a controlled substance, according to court documents obtained by The Panther. The two were also charged with possession of psilocybin, which is commonly known as mushrooms, as well as ecstasy, cocaine and GHB.

Riley, born Cerissa Gilligan, graduated from Chapman in January 2011 with a degree in dance, according to the Registrar’s Office.
Investigators said that the two would often meet their victims in a public place, like a restaurant or bar, take them back to the couple’s apartment, drug them or get them intoxicated and sexually assault them when they were unable to consent.

“I commend all of the victims coming forward. I’m sure that it was one of the hardest things they ever had to do,” Rackauckas said at the press conference. “But the echoed sentiment was that they wanted to support the first two women who came forward and make sure no one suffers in silence the way they did.”

Robicheaux is also thought to have found potential victims on dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, Rackauckas said, and prosecutors still believe there may be more victims. In September, Rackauckas said that more than 1,000 videos were found on Robicheaux’s phone of intoxicated women who were unable to consent to sexual contact. A video of at least one of the two initial accusers was found.

One woman who came forward said that she met Robicheaux on a popular dating app in 2017, according to a press release from the DA’s office. She then went on a date with him, during which Riley allegedly pretended to be a friend, rather than Robicheaux’s girlfriend. The two are accused of giving the woman alcohol until she became highly intoxicated, kidnapping her and raping her. She said she escaped the next morning after locking herself in their bathroom all night.

Another woman said she met Robicheaux and Riley at a Halloween party in 2016, then was taken to their apartment, where the two are accused of putting GHB, often referred to as the “date rape” drug, in the woman’s drink, then raping her while she was asleep.

Both women came forward after prosecutors announced they were seeking additional victims in September, according to the press release.

Robicheaux and Riley are also thought to have attended various festivals like Burning Man in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, Dirtybird Campout Festival in Silverado, California, Splash House Festival in Palm Springs, California, and BPM Festival in Playa del Carmen and Tulum, Mexico during the time period some of the alleged assaults took place, prosecutors said.

“All we can do is tell you, after the lengthy investigation that has taken place, after the many months of review of video and media and digital information, we are prepared to defend against the charges that have been filed,” said Philip Cohen, one of the pair’s lawyers, at a Sept. 21 press conference.

Robicheaux is an orthopedic surgeon licensed by the Medical Board of California, which opened an investigation into Robicheaux after the allegations, according to the DA’s office.

He appeared on the Bravo reality show, “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male” in 2014, during which he discussed being named “Bachelor of the Year” by Orange Coast magazine in 2013.

Robicheaux could face up to 82 years in prison and Riley could face 63 if they are convicted. Both remain free on $1 million bail each, according to court records. Their next court date is Jan. 18.