L.A. judge raises bail to $1 million
Darren Sharper pleaded not guilty Thursday to drugging and raping two women in Los Angeles, while a judge increased bail for the former Saints safety to $1 million.
The judge denied a request by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office to raise Sharper’s bail to $10 million. Prosecutors argued Sharper, who had remained free on $200,000 bail since his Jan. 17 arrest, deserved the huge hike because, along with the alleged Los Angeles rapes, he also has been accused of rape by women in Arizona, Las Vegas and New Orleans.
On Thursday, Miami Beach, Fla., police confirmed they also are investigating a complaint against Sharper, 38, filed last month about an alleged assault in September 2012.
In court documents filed last week, Los Angeles prosecutors said they were seeking the higher bail because of the other alleged rapes and “to protect the public from further criminal acts committed by the defendant or to assure the defendant’s appearance at future court hearings.”
After his first court hearing last Friday, a judge at Los Angeles Superior Court ordered Sharper to remain in that city, to surrender his passport and to stay away from a West Hollywood nightclub where Sharper is said to have partied before the alleged rapes on Oct. 30 and Jan. 14.
On Thursday, Judge Renee Korn said Sharper must stay away from any nightclub or business that serves alcohol and may not be alone with any female he did not know before Oct. 30, the date of the first alleged rape in L.A.
The judge said Sharper was required to post the bond — about $100,000 in cash — before he was allowed to leave the courtroom.
Korn set April 15 as the date to decide when a preliminary hearing will be held, said Jane Robinson, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office.
Sharper’s attorneys have maintained his innocence and said he will claim that any sexual contact in the Los Angeles incidents was consensual.
Korn said she considers the case very serious and cited reports that more women may be coming forward.
In addition to the rapes, Sharper was charged last week with four counts of sale or transportation of zolpidem — a sedative commonly known under the brand name Ambien — and one count of morphine possession.
Each of the charges is a felony.
At least one new alleged victim has accused Sharper of rape since he was arrested last month.
According to a report released Thursday by the Miami Beach Police Department, the woman reported the alleged attack after hearing of Sharper’s arrest in California last month, saying “she needed to clear her conscience.” She said she believed the incident occurred either Sept. 27, 2012, or Oct. 4, 2012.
The unidentified woman told police she was introduced to Sharper, a Miami Beach resident, at a club and drank with him and several other people. She went to Sharper’s Miami Beach condo with some other people, telling police she was “extremely intoxicated” when they arrived. After she went into Sharper’s bedroom, her friends later told her they could hear her say, “No, no, stop, I don’t want to.”
But the woman’s friends left her at the apartment. She awoke to discover Sharper lying on top of her with his penis inside her vagina, she told police.
She asked Sharper whether they had had sex and he replied, “No.”
Detective Vivian Hernandez, a Miami Beach police spokesman, said Sharper also was the subject of an investigation there in 2011 but was later cleared. Medical exams found no physical evidence of assaults on the women who filed those complaints, according to the report for that case.
In the early morning hours of March 18, 2011, three University of Georgia students were on spring break in Miami when they met a friend and Sharper’s brother, Jamie, at Sharper’s condo, according to a police report. Two other unknown men were at the apartment as well.
As in most of the current allegations against Sharper, the women, both 21 at the time, reported falling asleep shortly after arriving, saying they conked out on the living room sofa.
The police report, however, does not mention the women taking a drink from Sharper. In all of the pending allegations against him, the complainants describe drinking alcoholic beverages provided by Sharper and then blacking out or becoming disoriented.
One of the women said she awoke about 6 a.m. to find either Darren or Jamie Sharper “behaving inappropriately by exposing his penis and attempting to bring it close to her face,” the police report states.
The woman said she told the man she wanted to be left alone and he stopped bothering her. She fell asleep again and woke up to find the same person trying to lift her dress, according to the report.
She told police that she slapped away his hand and ordered him to leave her alone.
The women eventually left the apartment, after waking up their friend, but they realized their underwear had been removed. They went to a hospital for a rape exam, but a doctor found no evidence of abuse, the police report stated.
One of the women told Miami Beach police that the only thing she remembers about being in the apartment is arriving and then falling asleep a short time later.
Sharper also is accused of rapes on Jan. 15 in Las Vegas; Nov. 20 in Tempe, Ariz.; and Sept. 23 in the Warehouse District in New Orleans.
According to some media reports on the Los Angeles hearing, prosecutor Stacy Okun-Wiese said a second investigation has been opened in New Orleans, but a New Orleans Police Department spokeswoman said there is only one open investigation into Sharper.
Officials with the Kenner Police Department and the Jefferson and St. Bernard Parish sheriff’s offices said they did not have any information about investigations into Sharper. A spokesman for the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office did not immediately return a call.
Robinson, the Los Angeles district attorney’s spokeswoman, said she could not comment on Okun-Wiese’s statement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.