Prosecutors seek to drop rape case against California doctor

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SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) – Prosecutors on Tuesday said they will seek to drop a high-profile rape case against a California surgeon who appeared in a reality TV dating show.

“There’s insufficient evidence to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer told a news conference.

“This office will go to court as soon as possible and seek a dismissal on all the charges against the defendants,” he said.

Orthopedic surgeon Grant Robicheaux of Newport Beach and his girlfriend Cerissa Riley were charged in 2018 with rape by use of drugs, kidnapping and other crimes. At the time, authorities alleged that the pair plied their victims with drugs and sexually assaulted them when they were incapable of resisting.

Robicheaux previously appeared on a Bravo TV show called “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male.”

The case has been mired in controversy. Last year, Spitzer asked the California Attorney General’s Office to take over the prosecution citing concerns of a conflict of interest as he had previously accused his predecessor of improperly handling the case and using it to draw publicity during his re-election bid.

The state’s attorneys determined there wasn’t an issue and the county should proceed.

In September 2018, then-District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said during a news conference that investigators were sifting through thousands of videos and images found on Robicheaux’s phone and that some that showed women who were barely responsive.

Defense lawyers have said there are no such videos. Spitzer confirmed that.

“There is not a single piece of evidence or video or photo that shows an unconscious or incapacitated woman being sexually assaulted. Not one,” Spitzer said.

“No one felt any of the charged victims, the seven, could be proven,” Spitzer said.

The district attorney said he will meet with the alleged victims to explain to them why the review did not sustain the burden of proof.

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