Ex-NFL star Sharper sentenced to 18 years in prison in drug, rape cases

Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:09pm EDT
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By Kathy Finn

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Former National Football League star Darren Sharper was sentenced on Thursday to 18 years in federal prison in a case stemming from accusations that he drugged and raped women in four states while working as a television analyst.

Sharper, 40, who retired from the NFL in 2011 after helping lead the New Orleans Saints to a Super Bowl championship, had pleaded guilty in federal court in Louisiana in May 2015 to distributing controlled substances to three unsuspecting women and then having sex with them while they were incapacitated.

He also pleaded guilty or no contest last year to rape or attempted rape charges involving nine women, including in Arizona, California and Nevada.

"I would like to apologize a thousand times to plaintiffs in this case for making them victims," Sharper said in the federal court in New Orleans, tearful in shackles and orange prisoner garb. "They didn't deserve anything, or to be a part of this heinous decision, which is all on me."

U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo sentenced him to 220 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. She recommended he receive credit for time already served.

Only one of Sharper's victims, a young woman with long blond hair, chose to address the court during sentencing, saying he had given her a drug that could have killed her - and similarly abused multiple others.

"Go to hell," she said before turning away from the podium.

Federal prosecutor Mike McMahon said the sentence did not resolve Sharper's other pending cases, including ones in state courts.   Continued...

Former National Football League star Darren Sharper (L) and his attorney Leonard Levine appear at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles, California March 23, 2015. Sharper pleaded no contest on Monday to charges in Los Angeles of drugging four women and raping two of them, after receiving a nine-year prison sentence for a sexual assault case in Arizona. REUTERS/Nick Ut/Pool