‘Can’t believe this happened to us’: Prosecutors drop rape charges for California surgeon, girlfriend
(CNN) — A California surgeon and his girlfriend are in a state of disbelief days after prosecutors announced they would drop charges accusing the couple of drugging and raping women, they said.
Dr. Grant Robicheaux, 39, and Cerissa Riley, 32, of Newport Beach, appeared Friday in a taped interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“I feel like I finally woke up from a bad nightmare,” Riley said. “I feel like I can breathe again.”
“Still can’t believe this happened to us,” Robicheaux said.
The couple repeatedly denied the accusations since charges were filed in 2018, when the previous Orange County district attorney said they used their “good looks, charm” and drugs to lure women home and then raped them while they were unconscious or semiconscious.
Robicheaux and Riley again denied the accusations on “GMA.” Robicheaux said a claim he had an appetite for sex with unconscious women was hurtful.
“I mean, I have sisters. I have a mom,” he said. “Like, it’s disgusting.”
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer decided to drop the charges this week after a team of prosecutors reviewed the case and concluded there was insufficient evidence to prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. Spitzer apologized to both the couple and their accusers, saying his office couldn’t ensure a fair trial or meet the burden of proof.
The former district attorney, Tony Rackauckas, said he believed the accusers at the time he left office.
The couple’s lives have been in shambles since the accusations came to light. His medical license was suspended, he said, he was fired from his job and he had to leave his home because of the threats he was receiving.
“I feared every time I’d walk my dog that somebody was going to shoot or stab me, somebody was going to follow through with these threats on me or my family,” Robicheaux said.
The couple acknowledged they had a swingers lifestyle, ABC reported, but adamantly rejected the possibility that any of the women they’d had a sexual relationship were too inebriated to consent.
“It was never a question,” Robicheaux said.
“Never,” Riley said.
Lawyers are expected in court Friday to formally dismiss the charges. Whatever happens now, though, the couple’s lives will never be the same, their defense attorney said.
“Their life is done,” Phil Cohen told ABC. “That life, as they know it — and they had a successful life, professionally, and they had a very fulfilling life, and they had relationships and friends — and that’s gone.”