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Arizona grand jury indicts Darren Sharper on sex assault charges

Crime, Law and JusticeCrimeSexual AssaultDarren SharperJustice System

An Arizona grand jury has indicted Darren Sharper on five sexual assault and drug-related counts, the latest development in multiple sexual assault investigations against the former NFL star that have kept him in a Los Angeles jail.

The indictment on two counts of sexual assault and three counts of administering dangerous drugs involve attacks that occurred in Tempe, Ariz., on Nov. 20, 2013, police said Wednesday.

In all, the former New Orleans Saints safety, 38, is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting at least eight women in Los Angeles, New Orleans, Las Vegas and Tempe. A ninth woman has accused him of sexual battery in Miami Beach.

"We are going to vigorously defend the case with the expectation that he'll be vindicated," said Skip Donau, an attorney representing Sharper in Arizona.

The latest charges stem from an incident that began Nov. 20 when Sharper visited a woman in Arizona and went with her and two of her friends to two bars in Scottsdale, Tempe Sgt. Michael Pooley said.

At one of the bars, Pooley said, the woman Sharper was visiting began acting "abnormal," even though she hadn't had many drinks. The group returned to her apartment, where her friends put her to bed.

There, Sharper allegedly mixed drinks for the two other women and a roommate, Pooley said. One of the women refused the shot and left and another passed out on the couch within minutes, he said.

The roommate started feeling dizzy — "something wasn't right," Pooley said — and locked herself in her bedroom, where she called her boyfriend. She then went to splash water on her face, when she allegedly saw Sharper naked on top of the woman on the couch, Pooley said.

Sharper said he "had a thing going on" with the woman on the couch and told the roommate she shouldn't worry, Pooley said. The next morning, Sharper told the women he didn't remember what happened that night.

The woman put to bed by her friends woke up slumped across the bed, with no pants on, Pooley said.

Authorities allege Sharper drugged and assaulted that woman and the one on the couch, and also drugged the roommate.

Los Angeles County prosecutors charged Sharper in February with seven rape and drug counts in connection with two alleged attacks in Hollywood. He had been free on $1-million bail but was taken into custody again Feb. 27 after New Orleans police issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with two alleged rapes there.

Sharper is scheduled to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom Thursday for a hearing on the New Orleans warrant.

A Los Angeles judge said at a hearing last week that it would be "grossly unfair" to hold Sharper without bail on the New Orleans matter, and warned prosecutors that he must be charged by prosecutors there or the Louisiana governor must seek his extradition if he is to be kept in custody.

kate.mather@latimes.com

Times staff writer Richard Winton contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Crime, Law and JusticeCrimeSexual AssaultDarren SharperJustice System
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