Ex-NFL star, W&M alum, Darren Sharper sentenced to 20 years for raping women

Former NFL star Darren Sharper was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison for drugging and raping two women in Los Angeles, capping a case in which the athlete was accused of attacking more than a dozen women across the country.

Sharper was sentenced as part of a plea deal he reached last year — a “global resolution” that his attorneys said helped resolve sexual assault cases filed against him in multiple states.

“I can only imagine myself lying there like a vegetable while he took advantage of my body without my permission,” one of the victims said in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on Tuesday. “I have lost every bit of self confidence I’ve ever had and am always in fear while alone. It doesn’t matter whether it’s day or night, I can see a guy and automatically in my head think, ‘What if this guy tries to rape me?’”

Superior Court Judge Michael E. Pastor noted the statements that the woman and another victim gave as he sentenced Sharper.

“I dare say that I cannot speak more eloquently or passionately about the horrible misconduct of Mr. Sharper and the unfathomable effect he has had on the two alleged victims,” the judge said. “I think their individual statements speak volumes as to this disgraceful abuse of trust and the behavior of Mr. Sharper.”

After Los Angeles authorities arrested Sharper on suspicion of sexual assault in January 2014, women in other cities came forward alleging similar attacks. The former New Orleans Saints safety has been convicted of drugging and raping nine women in Los Angeles, Nevada, Arizona and Louisiana.

In August, a federal judge in New Orleans sentenced him to more than 18 years for the attacks. The judge said a federal presentencing report indicated there were 16 victims.

The sentence in Los Angeles is to be served at the same time as others around the country.

 

Sharper, a five-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl winner who retired in 2011, went on to work as an analyst for the NFL Network until his arrest in Los Angeles.

He pleaded no contest in March 2015 to the Los Angeles charges of drugging and raping two women. Details about the allegations were laid out in police reports obtained by The Times.

One woman told LAPD detectives about an Oct. 30, 2013, incident at a Century City hotel, according to one of the reports.

She said she was introduced to Sharper through a mutual friend. About 2 a.m., the woman told detectives that Sharper asked her if she would go with him to his hotel “so he could get something.” The woman said she went with Sharper to the hotel in an Uber car.

Inside the hotel room, Sharper poured her a drink, the woman told police. Sharper was “insistent that she drink it,” according to the report. She said she did not recall anything after going to the restroom.

The next morning, the woman told police, she woke up naked, with Sharper on top of her. The woman said she felt groggy and told Sharper that she had to leave, but told police that he “continued having sex with her,” the report said.

Two other women told detectives about an incident a few months later, on Jan. 15, 2014, after they met Sharper at a nightclub, according to police reports. 

The women said Sharper gave them a ride to a party at a Hollywood Hills home, after which he invited them to another party. But first, he told them, he “had to go to his hotel room and pick something up,” according to the report.

When the three arrived at Sharper's hotel room, the women told police that Sharper made them vodka and cranberry juice shots, which he had mixed while they were in the bathroom. The women told police they initially declined, “but Sharper kept asking them to take the shots.”

“The shots didn't taste like normal vodka shots,” the women told police.

The women told detectives they blacked out within 10 minutes of drinking and woke up the next morning on a pullout bed in the living room. One of the women said she felt pain in her vagina; the other “couldn't remember anything.”

Times staff writers Richard Winton and Kate Mather contributed to this report.

corina.knoll@latimes.com

For more news from Southern California, follow me on Twitter: @corinaknoll

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