Former NFL star Darren Sharper has been sentenced to 18 years in prison. He was accused of drugging and raping as many as 16 women in four different states.
Judge Jane Triche Milazzo sentenced Sharper on Thursday. He had pleaded guilty or no-contest to charges arising from the allegations of drugging and raping women in federal court in New Orleans, and state courts in Louisiana, Arizona, California and Nevada.
Prosecutors suggested a nine-year prison term for Sharper under a multijurisdictional plea deal, but Milazzo rejected it as too lenient in June. The sentence was 15 months short of the maximum. He was also fined $20,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael McMahon said he’s satisfied with the sentence.
Defense attorney Billy Gibbens said later that the federal sentence won’t affect plea agreements in the four state courts.
Sharper pleaded guilty in federal court to three counts of distributing drugs with rape as the aim. He or his friend Brandon Licciardi, a former sheriff’s deputy in neighboring St. Bernard Parish, put anti-anxiety drugs or sedatives into women’s drinks so they could rape them, according to a 15-page statement signed as part of that plea.
Milazzo has scheduled sentencing Oct. 13 for Licciardi and a second codefendant, Erik Nunez.
Sharper and one of the women that he admitted to drugging and raping made emotional statement prior to sentencing.
Sharper’s voice thickened and broke as he said he apologized “a thousand times” to the women he abused and to his family and friends, saying “I lived my life right for 38 years and then I took this path.” He said he’s still trying to figure out why he did.
The woman said Sharper was so arrogant and “twisted” that he kept drugging and raping women even after he knew the attack on her was being investigated.
Her last words to him were: “Go to hell.”
Charges around the country involve nine victims, but Milazzo has said in court that there may be as many as 16.
Like Sharper, Licciardi and Nunez admitted distributing drugs with the intent to commit rape. Their plea agreements say Licciardi has accepted a 17-year sentence, with 10 years for Nunez.
Sharper was named All-Pro six times and chosen for the Pro Bowl five times during a career that included stints with the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings. He also playing in two Super Bowls, one with Packers his rookie season and the other with the New Orleans Saints when the won in 2010.
He ended a 14-year career in 2011. He was working as a television analyst when women began telling police in several cities similar stories of blacking out while drinking with him and waking up groggy to find they had been sexually abused. This comes at a time of athletes and other men getting a light punishment for sexual assault.