Ex-NFL star charged with rape in Calif.; 3 other states eyeing him
LOS ANGELES — Former NFL star Darren Sharper was charged in California on Friday in the alleged drugging and rape of two women, one in October and the other last month, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said.
The five-time Pro Bowl player who became an NFL Network analyst is charged with two counts of rape by use of drugs, four counts of furnishing a controlled substance and one count of possession of a controlled substance, all felonies, the prosecutor’s office said.
Sharper, 38, who played defensive back for the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints during his 14-year career , appeared Friday in a Los Angeles County court, but his arraignment was postponed until Thursday, said spokesman Ricardo Santiago of the district attorney’s office.
Sharper was arrested January 17 and released on $200,000 bail, but prosecutors will seek next Thursday to raise his bail to $10 million, Santiago said.
The alleged controlled substances were morphine and zolpidem, another name for the prescription sleep aid Ambien.
On October 30, Sharper met two women at a West Hollywood nightclub — Bootsy Bellows on the Sunset Strip — and invited them to a party, authorities allege.
Sharper, who lives in Miami Beach, Florida, allegedly told them he had to stop by his Los Angeles hotel room to pick up something, and he invited them to the room. While there, he allegedly gave each woman a drink in the form of shot, and the women then passed out, prosecutors said.
The first woman woke up naked hours later as Sharper allegedly was sexually assaulting her, prosecutors said. The other woman awakened and “interrupted his actions,” according to court papers cited by prosecutors.
The two women gathered their belongings and left the hotel, authorities said.
On January 14, Sharper met two women at the same West Hollywood nightclub and also invited them to a party, prosecutors said.
A similar series of events allegedly unfolded: Sharper made a stop by his hotel room, invited the women in and allegedly offer them a shot, which caused them to pass out, prosecutors said.
When they woke up hours later on January 15, one woman believed she was sexually assaulted, and both women left the hotel and sought medical treatment, prosecutors said.
If convicted of the Los Angeles County charges, Sharper would face more than 30 years in state prison, prosecutors said.
A Los Angeles attorney representing Sharper told CNN on Friday that she was looking forward to “the true facts in this matter being revealed.
“And we are very hopeful that at the end of day that Mr. Sharper will be fully exonerated,” added attorney Blair Berk.
Los Angeles County prosecutors allege in court papers that Sharper also is suspected of rape in Tempe, Arizona; Las Vegas, Nevada; and New Orleans, Louisiana.
“I believe that the defendant is involved in seven acts of rape and eleven acts of furnishing a controlled substance” in those three communities and the Los Angeles area between last September and January, Los Angeles police investigator John Macchiarella stated in papers requesting an increase in Sharper’s bail to $10 million.
In Nevada, Sharper is a suspect in an ongoing rape investigation, Las Vegas police Officer Jose Hernandez told CNN.
“We do have an active and ongoing investigation and at the conclusion of this investigation, it will be submitted to the DA’s office for consideration of charges,” Hernandez said. He didn’t elaborate.
Macchiarella said in court papers that Sharper allegedly invited to his Las Vegas hotel room two women and a man he met in a Las Vegas nightclub. The three guests “blacked out” after Sharper allegedly served them shots, Macchiarella wrote.
One woman claimed she found injuries to her face when she woke up and alleged Sharper served her another unknown beverage and “the next thing she remembered was defendant Sharper sexually assaulting her,” Macchiarella stated in court papers.
The other woman awoke and believed she had been sexually assaulted, wrote Macchiarella, who reviewed the Nevada police reports.
The man awoke sitting alone at the bar inside of the hotel, without any memory of how he arrived there, Macchiarella said in the papers.
New Orleans police are also investigating Sharper after a 25-year-old woman accused him of sexual assault in September, New Orleans police spokeswoman Cherie Guggenheim confirmed to CNN.
The woman told police she consumed a large amount of alcohol last September 23 and met Sharper at one of the bars she visited, a police report said.
Sharper allegedly took the victim to his apartment and raped her, according to the police report and to Guggenheim. The woman told police she didn’t consent to any sexual encounter. Sharper hasn’t been charged and the investigation is ongoing, according to the report and to Guggenheim.
In Arizona, Sharper accompanied two women to a nightclub in Scottsdale and then joined them at the apartment of one of the women, according to the police report from the incident.
While in the apartment, Sharper allegedly served one woman a shot and she then blacked out, wrote Macchiarella, who reviewed police reports from Arizona.
During the time Sharper and the women were in the apartment, a female roommate who shared the apartment joined the group. Sharper also allegedly served the roommate a drink in the form of a shot, and as the roommate became disoriented and went to the bathroom, she allegedly saw Sharper on top of one of the other women with his buttocks exposed, Macchiarella said.
The two women who had accompanied Sharper to the apartment later underwent sexual assault exams, Macchiarella wrote. A crime lab test later found zolpidem in the cup that Sharper allegedly used as he served shots, Macchiarella said.
After Sharper was arrested in Los Angeles last month, the NFL Network suspended him without pay, a spokesman said.
Sharper’s pro football career began as a second-round draft choice by the Green Bay Packers in 1997. After eight seasons with the Packers, including a loss to Denver in Super Bowl XXXII, he moved to the Minnesota Vikings for four years.
He signed as a free agent with the New Orleans Saints in 2009, which led to a Super Bowl ring that first season. Injuries hampered his second year with the Saints, which led to his retirement in 2011. The Los Angeles arrest report states Sharper is 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 210 pounds.