Brent Schrotenboer / USA Today
Former NFL star Darren Sharper will not face rape charges in Miami, authorities announced Thursday, citing a lack of evidence.
The decision regarding the case in Miami Beach was not a surprise, largely because the alleged victim did not file a complaint until more than three months after the alleged incident last fall.
Sharper, 38, still faces charges in Tempe, Ariz., and Los Angeles, where he has been in jail without bail on similar date-rape charges since Feb. 27. He also has been under investigation for other alleged date rapes in Las Vegas and New Orleans, though no charges have been filed in those cases.
The Florida case could be revived if new evidence arises. But the assistant state attorney in Miami said no criminal charges should be filed at this time against Sharper for the following reasons:
"It is one on one allegation. It is a delayed disclosure. The subject has made no admission...No physical evidence. Inconsistent statements made by the victim regarding knowledge of the people she was with night/morning of the incident as well as her description of the sex itself. No corroborating witnesses, despite detective's best efforts to locate the people the victim said were present the night/morning of this incident."
Sharper is due in court again Friday in Los Angeles, where his attorneys have been trying to get him released on bail. One of their latest moves has been to accuse an Arizona detective of giving misleading testimony in court last month that helped keep Sharper behind bars.
In the Arizona case, a grand jury indicted Sharper, charging him with drugging and raping two women last November. The Arizona charges didn't provide for bail, a stipulation cited by a Los Angeles judge when she ruled Sharper should remain locked up there indefinitely.
Sharper's attorneys argued in a hearing in Tempe last month that the evidence wasn't strong enough in that case to deny him bail. A judge disagreed after hearing testimony from Det. Kevin Mace, a witness for the prosecution.
"The court finds proof evident and the presumption great that Victim B was the victim of a sexual assault committed by Mr. Sharper," Judge Warren Granville said then.
In making his ruling, Granville cited evidence that showed DNA that partially matched Sharper's DNA was found inside the vagina of a woman referred to in court documents as Victim B. According to Mace's testimony, Victim B did not know Sharper before the night of the incident and had no recollection of what happened to her after consuming a drink made by Sharper in the apartment.
Sharper's attorney, Skip Donau, said no sperm was found on any of the alleged victims in Arizona. But Arizona prosecutor Yigael Cohen countered that with testimony from Mace about Sharper having had a vasectomy, which could explain the lack of sperm. Mace said he learned of the vasectomy from Los Angeles police and Victim A, the other alleged rape victim in Arizona who had a previous sexual relationship with Sharper.
After the hearing, Mace advised Cohen that he misspoke when he said in his testimony that Los Angeles police told him they had medical records about the vasectomy. He confirmed Victim A told him about it. Sharper's attorneys have not denied Sharper has had a vasectomy, but said Mace's inaccurate statement about where he learned about this information taints his testimony.
"Detective Mace has lied under oath, which has caused Mr. Sharper to be held without bond," Sharper's attorneys state in asking the Arizona court to reconsider its decision to deny Sharper bail.
Sharper's attorneys also said Mace gave misleading testimony when he said there was DNA in the form of semen on Victim B's leggings matching Sharper's DNA. Under questioning from Donau, Mace clarified this statement to say the DNA was in the form of prostate-specific antigen, which is a constituent of semen and is produced in the male prostate, but also can be found in other sources, such as blood.
Such arguments might not sway the court to change its decision, however. In making his ruling, Granville did not cite the DNA on the leggings and specifically mentioned that he was giving no weight to the testimony about the vasectomy.
Law enforcement authorities allege a similar pattern with Sharper: They say he partied with his victims, then raped them while they slept after he spiked their drinks with a sleep aid. Sharper has pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles.
Sharper initially was arrested in Los Angeles on Jan. 17 on suspicion of raping two women there in October and January. He posted $200,000 bail, which later increased to $1 million after other pending cases came to light. After authorities in New Orleans issued a warrant for his arrest, Sharper surrendered in Los Angeles on Feb. 27. In March, Los Angeles Judge Renee Korn indicated she would release him on bail if New Orleans authorities did not soon file formal charges against him. They did not, but then came the Arizona indictment, which has kept him in jail.