Analyst: Rape charges against Sharper in L.A. could strengthen local case

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wwltv.com

Posted on February 14, 2014 at 11:22 PM

Updated Saturday, Feb 15 at 5:11 AM

Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: mhernandez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl

NEW ORLEANS - Darren Sharper faced a judge Monday on rape and felony narcotics charges stemming from two separate incidents in Los Angeles.

So far, the former Saints safety has been formally charged with rape only in Los Angeles, but authorities are investigating similar allegations in three other cities, including Tempe, AZ, Las Vegas, and New Orleans.

Eyewitness News legal analyst Chick Foret says the charges in Los Angeles, coupled with allegations in other cities, likely strengthen the case in New Orleans.

“I would suggest that it puts tremendous pressure on the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office because now he's had this file in his office for several weeks, nothing has been done,” said Foret.

Foret said there is a provision in the Louisiana Code of Evidence which allows prosecutors to introduce similar crimes in other jurisdictions into evidence to establish patterns of behavior, even if the defendant hasn’t been convicted of those crimes.

In all, Sharper is accused of drugging the drinks of 11 people across four states since September raping seven of them. In each case, the victims say Sharper gave them a drink and they "blacked out" moments later, not awaking for hours.

Some say they awoke to find Sharper sexually assaulting them. Some "felt" they had been sexually assaulted. Nearly all sought medical treatment and tests.

In New Orleans, court records show a test confirmed Sharper's DNA. And in Arizona, the shot glass Sharper allegedly gave the victims, tested positive for an Ambien-type drug.

“I think it certainly lends credibility to survivors stories,” said Mary Claire Landry, executive director of the Family Justice Center, which helps dozens of sexual assault victims in New Orleans.

“I wouldn't be surprised if there are other women out there that if this happened to other women that this would encourage them to come forward.”

Sharper has been out on $200,000 bond since he was arrested in Los Angeles last month, but prosecutors want to raise it to $10 million, citing the alarming allegations across four states, while authorities in New Orleans continue their investigations.

While Sharper is awaiting an arraignment next week, he is ordered not to leave Los Angeles.

His attorney in the New Orleans case did not return calls for comment.

And a spokesman for the Orleans Parish DA's office would only say that it does not comment on open investigations.

 

 

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