Former NFL star and analyst Darren Sharper will spend at least 9 years behind bars after admitting that he drugged and raped women. Sharper, who appeared in a Los Angeles court on Monday, pleaded guilty to sexual assault in Arizona and no contest in California to raping two women he knocked out with a potent sedative mixed with booze.
In total, Sharper was facing rape charges in Arizona, California and two others states. Initially his defense attorney said the sex was consensual, and that he didn’t mix anything into the women’s drinks.
Under the unusual deal negotiated by Sharper’s lawyers and state and federal prosecutors, Sharper will serve sentences concurrently in federal prison, though the full term has not yet been announced.
He was sentenced to nine years in the Arizona case and will face 20 years in the California case when sentenced July 15. However, because the crimes in California only require serving half the term and he gets credit for 13 months spent in jail, he’ll serve about nine more years, lawyers said.
The sentence is no slap on the wrist, but it spares Sharper a potentially longer term if sentences involving at least nine alleged victims were added together and he also avoids notoriously rough state prisons, said Jeffery Rubenstein, a former Los Angeles prosecutor.
“This could have gotten really ugly and very likely this guy would have never seen the light of day,” said Rubenstein, who didn’t work on the case.
From the prosecution standpoint, victims were saved from reliving the event through testimony and having their credibility questioned by a seasoned team of defense lawyers, Rubenstein said.
Hearings will follow in Las Vegas on Tuesday and in New Orleans in the next month. In each state, he’s accused of drugging and sexually assaulting women when they were unconscious or otherwise unable to resist or consent.
Sharper retired from the NFL in 2011. The first rape charge dates back to August 2013.
Image Credits: AP