Ex-NFL star Darren Sharper pleads not guilty to drug, rape charges

Darren Sharper
Flanked by attorneys Leonard Levine, left, and Blair Berk, former NFL player Darren Sharper made his first court appearance in Los Angeles last week on charges of drugging and sexually assaulting women he allegedly met at a West Hollywood nightclub. Prosecutors say he’s also suspected of assaulting women in three other states.
(Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)
This post has been updated. See note below for details.

Former NFL star Darren Sharper pleaded not guilty Thursday to allegations that he drugged and raped two women in Los Angeles in an ongoing investigation that includes at least five other alleged victims in three other states.

Sharper, 38, was charged last week with seven rape and drug counts involving four women he allegedly met at a West Hollywood nightclub. Court documents filed Friday revealed additional allegations in Las Vegas, New Orleans and Tempe, Ariz., that are all still under investigation.

Prosecutors said in court Thursday that a new allegation against Sharper was being investigated in New Orleans, and Miami police are investigating one there. 

[Updated at 5:15 p.m. PST, Feb. 20: New Orleans police spokeswoman Remi Braden told The Times on Thursday evening her department was investigating only one alleged incident against Sharper. Miami media outlets reported that police there are investigating an alleged sexual battery by Sharper after a woman came forward two days after his L.A. arrest.]


Bail for the former New Orleans Saints safety was increased from $200,000 to $1 million and the judge ordered him to post bond Thursday before leaving court.

Previously, he had been ordered to surrender his passport, stay in Los Angeles and and avoid the West Hollywood nightclub.

If convicted of the charges, Sharper would face more than 30 years in prison, prosecutors said.

His attorneys said last week that Sharper is not guilty.


“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,” attorney Blair Berk said outside the courtroom.

Court documents 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 a 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.

Charges have been filed only in connection with the Los Angeles allegations, though officials in the other jurisdictions said their cases remained open.

Los Angeles Police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said the LAPD’s investigation was also ongoing.

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

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 was suspended without pay after his arrest.


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