Darren Sharper a former safety for the New Orleans Saints was sentenced to 18 years in prison for drugging and raping more than 16 women in four states.
A multi-jurisdictional plea was made by prosecutors who originally suggested a nine-year prison sentence. However, L.A. Superior Court Judge Triche Milazzo refused, claiming it was too lenient. Sharper’s sentence was just short of the maximum penalty and he was also fined $20,000.
Sharper pleaded guilty in federal court to three counts of distributing drugs with rape as the motive. According to a 15-page signed plea agreement, Sharper or his friend, former St. Bernard Parish sheriff’s deputy Brandon Licciardi dropped anti-anxiety drugs and sedatives in women’s drinks, with the intention of raping them.
An Oct. 13 hearing date was scheduled for Licciardi and Erik Nunez, a second co-defendant. The two admitted to their charges of distributing drugs with intent to commit rape. Licciardi has accepted a 17-year sentence and Nunez accepted 10 years.
The 40-year-old ex-NFL Pro Bowl player appeared contrite in court as he apologized to his victims.
“I would like to apologize a thousand times,” Sharper said. Later, he said, looking down and sighing, “I’m still trying to figure out why I made some of these choices.”
But he was rebuffed by one of his victims, the only one to speak at his sentencing.
“For the list of people you’ve done this to: Go to hell,” said the woman, whose name was withheld.
In addition to the Saints, Sharper also played for the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings. He was named All-Pro six times, selected for the Pro Bowl five times and played in two Super Bowls.
He ended his 14-year career in 2001, was working as an NFL network analyst when several woman approached police in different cities with parallel stories of blacking out while drinking with him.
Milazzo, in sentencing Sharper, told him she couldn’t understand how he did what he did, since he was college educated and obviously had grown up “in one of the most loving households.”
“We can never ignore the damage you inflicted on those women and society at large,” she said.
Image: Associated Press