Former Vikings DB Sharper charged with rape in California
LOS ANGELES — Prosecutors charged former NFL safety Darren Sharper on Friday with raping and drugging two women in California and disclosed he is under investigation in connection with five more drug-related rapes in three other states.
Sharper briefly appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court, where his arraignment was postponed until Feb. 20 at the request of his lawyers. They issued a statement saying he would be exonerated.
Prosecutors then filed a motion to increase Sharper’s bail to $10 million and outlined details of investigations involving him in Las Vegas, Tempe, Ariz., and New Orleans.
Sharper has not been charged in the other jurisdictions.
In the bail motion, Los Angeles County Investigator John Maccharella described a pattern in which the former football star met women at clubs or parties and lured them to a hotel room, where they were allegedly drugged and raped.
The motion says the incidents happened in the past five months, with two occurring within a day in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
After conferring with police in other jurisdictions, Maccharella said in the bail motion that the first assault followed an event for New Orleans Saints football players on Sept. 22, 2013.
Maccharella said he was told a woman went to a New Orleans bar with Sharper, consumed an alcoholic beverage provided by him and blacked out. She awoke the next morning while being sexually assaulted, the bail motion stated, noting that an exam later showed Sharper’s DNA was present.
The Los Angeles charges were based on incidents on Oct. 30, 2013, and Jan. 14, 2014, beginning at a West Hollywood nightclub. Sharper allegedly met two women each time, invited them to a party then said he had to stop at his hotel.
In the October incident, each woman was given a shot of an alcoholic beverage before blacking out, and one later awoke to find the other being sexually assaulted, the charging documents state.
In January, a woman awoke and suspected she had been assaulted, the documents state.
Similar scenarios played out on Jan. 15 in Las Vegas and on Nov. 20, 2013, in Arizona, the bail motion states.
In Los Angeles, Sharper is facing two counts of rape by use of drugs, four counts of furnishing a controlled substance, and one count of possession of a controlled substance.
The complaint alleges the drugs involved were morphine and zolpidem, which is sold under the brand name Ambien.
Sharper was represented by prominent Los Angeles attorneys Blair Berk and Leonard Levine.
"We look forward to the true facts being revealed in this case," Berk said after the brief court appearance. "And we are hopeful Mr. Sharper will be fully exonerated before this case is concluded."
Sharper, 38, played in the NFL from 1997 to 2010, mostly with the Packers.
Sharper was arrested on Jan. 17. He was allowed to remain free on $200,000 bail and ordered to surrender his passport. He has not entered a plea.
Superior Court Judge Roberto Longoria did not immediately take up the bail motion.
Sharper’s lawyers refused to comment on the other investigations.
If convicted in the California case, Sharper could face more than 30 years in state prison.
Sharper was selected All-Pro six times and chosen for the Pro Bowl five times. He played in two Super Bowls, one with the Packers as a rookie and a second with the Saints.