Ex-Saints safety accused of drugging, raping 7 women in 4 states
Former New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper is accused of drugging and raping at least seven women in four states, according to Los Angeles court documents released Friday.
The latest accusations surfaced the day that prosecutors in Los Angeles charged him with two previously alleged rapes in that city and requested his bail be set at $10 million — 50 times his current bail — because of new accusations that he also raped women in Las Vegas and Tempe, Ariz.
New Orleans police previously confirmed they are investigating Sharper, 38, for an alleged rape in the Warehouse District last fall.
The incidents share similar traits: Sharper is said to have met most of the alleged victims while out drinking, then invited them back to his hotel room or apartment.
He is said to have offered them drinks or shots that almost instantly knocked them out. Most of them awoke with little or no memory of what happened but believed they had been raped.
Prosecutors in Los Angeles charged Sharper with two counts of rape by use of drugs, 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.
A judge at Los Angeles Superior Court set consideration of the bail-increase request for Feb. 20.
One of the alleged rapes in Los Angeles occurred Oct. 30. The other is reported to have happened Jan. 14.
Sharper’s attorney, Blair Berk, who has represented other high-profile clients like Kanye West and Lindsay Lohan, did not return messages seeking comment.
“We look forward to the true facts being revealed in this case, and we are hopeful that Mr. Sharper will be fully exonerated before this case is concluded,” she told the Los Angeles Times.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office confirmed Sharper was in court there Friday morning. The Times reported he entered the courthouse about 8:30 a.m. and left about 20 minutes later.
Sharper will remain free on his original $200,000 bail until his arraignment and bail hearing next week, according to Ricardo Santiago, a spokesman for the Los Angeles DA’s office.
Sharper must remain in Los Angeles until that hearing, surrender his passport and stay away from the West Hollywood nightclub Bootsy Bellows, where the alleged incidents are said to have begun, Santiago said.
In both alleged California rapes, the DA’s Office accuses Sharper of picking up a pair of women at Bootsy Bellows and inviting them to parties after the bar closed. While stopping by his hotel room, he gave them drinks. All the women said they passed out after drinking the shots.
In the Oct. 30 assault, one of the women described waking up naked to find Sharper sexually assaulting her. The other woman then woke up and “interrupted his actions” by entering the room, according to the DA’s office.
The women called a taxi to go home, and they slept for four hours, the DA’s Office said. Both women said they had intermittent memory loss from the time they drank the shots until they woke up at their house.
In the second Los Angeles assault last month, Sharper allegedly invited two women to a party after leaving the nightclub. They stopped by his hotel room after several hours at that party, and Sharper then gave them shots that made them pass out. When the women woke the next day, one believed she had been sexually assaulted. They both sought medical treatment after leaving the hotel.
Sharper was arrested in Los Angeles on Jan. 17 and released hours later on bail. He’s charged with raping one woman in each incident.
The following day, news broke that authorities in New Orleans also were investigating Sharper for an alleged rape here.
According to an NOPD report, a 25-year-old woman told police she had consumed a “large amount of alcohol” on Sept. 23 and had gone to a number of bars.
The woman told police she met Sharper at an event for New Orleans Saints football players, according to Los Angeles court documents.
Afterward, she went with Sharper to a bar, she said. Sharper then took her to his apartment in the 700 block of Tchoupitoulas Street.
The woman told police that once in the apartment, Sharper sexually assaulted her about 10 a.m. She said she did not consent to having sex with him. She underwent a sexual assault examination at Interim LSU Public Hospital on Sept. 24.
On Nov. 4, investigators received a DNA analysis report from the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab. It said Sharper’s DNA was found on the accuser when she was examined.
Sharper, who most recently worked as an in-studio analyst for the NFL Network, was apparently in New Orleans for the Saints’ game against the Arizona Cardinals the previous night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. He’s a resident of Miami Beach, Fla., but was living in a Los Angeles hotel room for his job at the NFL Network.
His attorney, Nandi Campbell, has maintained Sharper’s innocence in the New Orleans case, saying there is no evidence to support the allegations, which have not produced criminal charges.
Chris Bowman, a spokesman for the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office, said the investigation here remains open.
He declined to comment further, citing the ongoing probe.
Sharper also is suspected of two rapes in Arizona and Nevada, the Los Angeles DA’s Office said. A declaration signed by LAPD Detective John Macchiarella described what police know of the other two incidents.
Two women, identified in a sworn declaration as “Jane Doe D” and Jane Doe E,” were at a nightclub in Scottsdale, Ariz., with Sharper on Nov. 20 and drank with him. At some point during the night, “Jane Doe D” began to act strange and asked her friends to take her home.
Sharper followed the women to their home in Tempe, near Arizona State University’s campus and about 15 minutes from Scottsdale.
Once home, “Jane Doe D” was put to bed by “Jane Doe E” and a roommate, “Jane Doe F.”
“Jane Doe F,” who was not at the club with Sharper and her friends, joined the former football player and “Jane Doe E” in the living room.
Sharper reportedly poured the women shots, and “Jane Doe E” blacked out, while “Jane Doe F” began to feel disoriented and went to bed.
At one point during the night, “Jane Doe F” walked out of her room to go to the bathroom and said she saw Sharper on top of “Jane Doe E” on the couch in the living room with “his buttocks exposed, moving in a thrusting motion,” according to court documents.
She returned to her bedroom and fell asleep.
“Jane Doe E” woke up about 8:35 a.m. the next morning, gathered her belongings and left, according to court documents.
“Jane Doe D” awoke the next morning and said she was naked from the waist down. She told investigators she did not remember the night’s events or how her clothing was removed.
All three women sought medical treatment, with Jane Does D and E undergoing sexual-assault exams.
Meanwhile, law enforcement authorities collected evidence from the home, including at least one shot glass Sharper handled. Testing revealed the presence of zolpidem in the cup, according to court documents.
“Ambien on its own can do a lot of damage,” said Joanne Archambault, executive director of End Violence Against Women International and former commander of the San Diego Police Department’s sex crimes unit. “You put it and alcohol together, and it’s bad.”
Sgt. Mike Pooley, a spokesman for the Tempe Police Department, said the case there remains open and detectives are working with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office on the investigation.
The most recent case dates to Jan. 15 — a day after the second alleged Los Angeles rape — when authorities say two women and a man met Sharper at a Las Vegas nightclub. Sharper invited them all back to his hotel room.
Sharper served his three guests shots, and the two women and the man all said they blacked out.
The man said the next thing he remembers was sitting alone at the hotel’s bar. He did not remember how he got there.
One of the women said she woke up alongside Sharper in his bed. She got up to use the restroom and noticed she had “visible injuries to her face” but did not know how she might have been injured. The woman said she returned to bed. When she awoke again, Sharper asked her how she felt because he said she had been sick and vomited during the night.
The woman said Sharper gave her “an unknown beverage that he claimed would help her feel better.” She sipped on it. The next thing she remembered, she said, Sharper was sexually assaulting her.
The other woman said she woke up alone on a couch in the hotel living room She said she felt as though she’d been raped.
Both women submitted to a sexual-assault examination later that evening.
They both said they had “intermittent memory loss between the time they left the hotel and awoke at their hotel later that same day,” according to the declaration.
Officer Jose Hernandez, a spokesman for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, said the investigation into the case involving Sharper continues. When the investigation is concluded, police will forward the findings to the Clark County, Nev., District Attorney’s Office.
A conviction on the charges in Los Angeles could send Sharper to prison for more than 30 years.
Based on the rape charges Sharper faces in Los Angeles, prosecutors likely have a case they believe will prove that he raped the victims there while they were incapacitated, said Archambault, the former San Diego sex crimes investigator.
Prosecutors could try to convince a jury the victims were unconscious at the time of the rape, but that can be harder to prove, she noted.
Under California law, there needs to be proof only that a defendant knew a victim was incapacitated, not that he or she was responsible for any altered state of mind.
If there are witnesses or other evidence that can prove the victim was not able to consent, “this guy’s in trouble,” Archambault said.
Sharper played in the NFL between 1997 and 2010.
He joined the Saints in 2009 after previous stints with the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings.
He intercepted nine passes during his first year with the Saints and returned three for scores — a career high — as the team finished No. 1 in the NFC with a 13-3 record and went on to win its only Super Bowl championship. The 376 yards he gained on his interception returns that year were an NFL record.
While his career included highlights such as being named to the league’s All-Decade Team for the 2000s, Sharper’s last year with the Saints and in the NFL was quieter. He appeared in nine games in 2010 and started two, including the playoffs.