Former NFL star Darren Sharper faces sexual assault charges

Darren Sharper
Flanked by attorneys Leonard Levine, left, and Blair Berk, former NFL player Darren Sharper appears in court in Los Angeles on charges of drugging and sexually assaulting two women. Prosecutors said he’s also under investigation for allegedly attacking at least five other women in three other states.
(Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles prosecutors Friday charged ex-NFL star Darren Sharper with drugging and sexually assaulting two women and revealed he is under investigation for allegedly attacking at least five other women in three other states.

Sharper was charged with seven rape and drug counts involving four women he allegedly met at a West Hollywood nightclub. Court documents revealed additional allegations in Las Vegas, New Orleans and Tempe, Ariz., that are all still under investigation.

Los Angeles police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said his department’s investigation was also ongoing.

“Any time we have a case like this, we are looking for more victims,” Smith said.


Flanked by two attorneys, the 38-year-old former New Orleans Saints safety did not enter a plea when he briefly appeared in court Friday. He remained free on the $200,000 bail posted after his Jan. 17 arrest. He was ordered to surrender his passport, stay in L.A. and avoid the nightclub where he met four of his alleged victims.

If convicted of the L.A. charges, Sharper, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, faces more than 30 years in state prison, prosecutors said.

His attorneys said Sharper is innocent.

“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,” Blair Berk, one of Sharper’s attorneys, said outside of court Friday.


Court documents filed Friday laid out a series of allegations against Sharper that occurred between Sept. 22 and Jan. 15. Women reported meeting Sharper — usually at a nightclub — then going back to his hotel room or another location. The women, who were often in pairs, said Sharper then gave them shots of alcohol that caused them to black out.

Some of the women said they awoke hours later to find Sharper assaulting them or a friend. Many said they could remember nothing between drinking the shots and waking up. Authorities said Sharper’s DNA was found on one of the victims during her medical examination. In another incident, the sleep-aid drug zolpidem — an Ambien generic — was found in a cup he had given another victim, officials said.

In the New Orleans case, a woman said she met Sharper on Sept. 22 at an event for the Saints. She told police she took a drink from him and woke up hours later with him “on top of her sexually assaulting her.” The court documents said his DNA was recovered during her medical exam.

In a statement, Sharper’s New Orleans attorney, Nandi F. Campbell, said “no evidence suggests or implies that a sexual assault occurred.” But prosecutors said the investigation is continuing.

The first L.A. incident occurred Oct. 30, after Sharper allegedly met two women at the Bootsy Bellows nightclub in West Hollywood. He brought them to his hotel on the way to an after-party, where the women said he gave them a shot of what he called “coffee Petron,” according to court documents. One said she woke up naked hours later as Sharper allegedly assaulted her.

The next allegation involves a Nov. 20 incident in which Sharper is said to have met two women at a Scottsdale, Ariz., nightclub. The group eventually went to the women’s apartment in Tempe, where Sharper again allegedly gave them shots that caused them to black out, records state.

He allegedly assaulted two of three women there, including one who told authorities she woke up naked from the waist down. She had no memory of the night or how her clothing was removed, the court documents said.

The women reported the alleged assaults to Tempe police. Authorities tested one of the cups Sharper had used for the shots and found traces of zolpidem, court records show.


Tempe police Sgt. Michael Pooley said detectives were continuing to investigate.

The final incidents allegedly occurred on back-to-back nights.

On Jan. 14, Sharper returned to Bootsy Bellows, where he allegedly met two women and invited them to an after-party. Sharper told the women he needed to stop at his hotel, then served them shots, according to court records.

The women reported that they then “blacked out,” only to wake up hours later. One said she “immediately felt as though she had been sexually assaulted,” according to court records. The pair left the hotel, went home to sleep and sought medical attention later that evening, the records show.

In Las Vegas that night, two additional women alleged that Sharper drugged and assaulted them.

Las Vegas police Officer Jose Hernandez said the investigation is ongoing and will be submitted to the district attorney’s office.

Authorities said Sharper, who also played for the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, was a Miami resident but was living in Los Angeles in recent months for his work. He most recently was an analyst for the NFL Network, but he was suspended without pay after his arrest.

A spokesman for the NFL Network said Friday that he remained suspended without pay.


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