A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge sentenced retired NFL player Darren Sharper to 20 years in prison for drugging and raping two women in Los Angeles, bookending what has been several prison sentences for a series of sexual assaults.
Sharper, 41, was sentenced Tuesday (Nov. 29) in accordance with a “global plead deal” in light of attacks against as many as 16 women across four different states, according to the Los Angeles Times.
During his sentencing, Sharper’s rape victims shared horrific accounts of being drugged and assaulted by the onetime New Orleans Saints safety.
“I can only imagine myself lying there like a vegetable while he took advantage of my body without my permission,” one woman said in court. “I have lost every bit of self confidence I’ve ever had and am always in fear while alone. It doesn’t matter whether it’s day or night, I can see a guy and automatically in my head think, ‘What if this guy tries to rape me?’”
Following the victim statements, Superior Court Judge Michael E. Pastor lambasted the former professional athlete while lauding the “two alleged victims” for detailing the “unfathomable effect” that Sharper’s actions has had on their lives.
“I think their individual statements speak volumes as to this disgraceful abuse of trust and the behavior of Mr. Sharper,” Pastor said.
Sharper was originally arrested in Los Angeles in January 2014 for two separate counts of sexual assault. He pleaded not guilty to the charges a month later, but the apprehension led to further accusations and eventual indictments on rape and drug charges in Arizona, Nevada, and Louisiana, in addition to California. Sharper has pleaded not guilty and no contest to various charges.
In May 2015, Sharper attempted a guilty plea in exchange for a nine-year prison sentence. The deal was later rejected by a federal judge, though a new agreement was reached. On Aug. 18, 2016, Sharper was sentenced to 18 years and four months in federal prison, a sentence which he is appealing. A week later, he was hit with another 20-year sentence by a state judge for three rapes in Louisiana.
All of Sharper’s sentences will run concurrent.
The disgraced professional athlete has been behind bars for two years, making him eligible for parole in California in 2024. As CBS News notes, the state requires him to serve at least half of the 20-year sentence.