Su­per Bowl winner Sharper gets 20 years for drug-rape

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

For­mer NFL star Dar­ren Sharper was sen­tenced Tues­day a 20-year prison term, end­ing a tour of shame and pun­ish­ment in the court­house where he first ad­mit­ted drug­ging and rap­ing women in four states.

Los An­ge­les Su­pe­rior Court Judge Michael Pas­tor de­nounced Sharper’s “hor­ri­ble con­duct” and “dis­grace­ful abuse of trust” dur­ing the hear­ing that con­cluded pros­e­cu­tions that un­masked the pop­u­lar for­mer all-pro safety and Su­per Bowl champ as a se­rial rapist.

Un­der the terms of a plea deal ne­go­ti­ated with pros­e­cu­tors in four states, Sharper will be el­i­gi­ble for pa­role in about eight years be­cause Cal­i­for­nia law re­quires he serve half his sen­tence and he has al­ready been be­hind bars more than two years since his ar­rest.

But he will prob­a­bly serve more time if an ap­peals court up­holds an 18-year prison sen­tence handed down by a New Or­leans fed­eral judge who re­jected the deal as too le­nient. Sharper has ap­pealed that harsher sen­tence.

Sharper, 41, sat qui­etly in court in or­ange jail scrubs and never ad­dressed the court or two emo­tional vic­tims who spoke about evenings that be­gan in­no­cently enough par­ty­ing with friends turned into night­mares they can no longer es­cape af­ter he se­cretly slipped drugs in their shot glasses and in­sisted they drink. Both women blacked out and later awoke to the groggy re­al­ity that some­thing ter­ri­bly wrong had oc­curred that they couldn’t im­me­di­ately com­pre­hend in their drug-in­duced stu­por.

“I started vom­it­ing, my head was pound­ing and I had trou­ble see­ing clearly,” said one vic­tim, who said her rape on Jan. 15, 2014 was “the worst night of my life.”

The woman, iden­ti­fied only as Jane Doe 2, teared up be­fore she even ad­dressed the court and dabbed at her nose with a tis­sue through­out. She said her surf­ing ca­reer spi­raled down­ward af­ter­ward, she lost her self-con­fi­dence, lives in fear and at one point con­sid­ered sui­cide. “The only good thing about this sit­u­a­tion is that this dis­gust­ing low-life hu­man will be sent to prison for many years and is likely he will never be able to do to this to an­other woman again,” she said. “I hope this scum­bag will now feel as worth­less as he has made me feel.” Sharper, 41, was work­ing as an NFL net­work an­a­lyst when women in sev­eral cities be­gan re­port­ing how nights of par­ty­ing with their girl­friends and Sharper ended with them wak­ing up in his ho­tel room confused and dis­cov­er­ing they had been sex­u­ally as­saulted.

Sharper’s ar­rest came as the NFL was deal­ing with off-field prob­lems with play­ers ac­cused of crimes rang­ing from spousal abuse to mur­der.

The sec­ond woman, iden­ti­fied as Jane Doe 4, was with a friend when they were drugged by Sharper in his ho­tel room in 2013, hours af­ter they met at a Sports Il­lus­trated 50th an­niver­sary party. She woke up on a bed with her clothes on, blood com­ing out of her nose and did now know where she was. She said her friend had been sex­u­ally as­saulted, and both fled fear­ing for their lives.

“It’s one thing to be a vic­tim, but to be the vic­tim that got ‘lucky’ in some eyes is not easy to live with,” Jane Doe 4 said. “When I think back to that night I won­der what he could have done to me. That’s not lucky. It’s haunt­ing.” The As­so­ci­ated Press does not gen­er­ally name peo­ple who are vic­tims of sex crimes. Sharper re­tired from the league in 2011 af­ter a 14-year ca­reer with the Green Bay Pack­ers, the Min­nesota Vik­ings and, finally, in New Or­leans with the Saints, where he won a Su­per Bowl.—AP

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