Story includes reporting from Investigator Mike Perlstein and reports from the Arizona Republic
NEW ORLEANS - Darren Sharper won’t have to return to court until next Thursday to be arraigned on rape charges, but Los Angeles prosecutors significantly raised the stakes against the former Saints star, saying Friday that he slipped drugs into the drinks of at least four women there, raping two of them.
In addition, law enforcement in Nevada and Arizona confirmed investigations into alleged sexual assaults by Sharper. There is already an investigation into an alleged similar assault in New Orleans.
The request for an increase in bail to $10 million included a declaration by prosecutors that it is believed “that Sharper was involved in seven acts of rape and 11 acts of furnishing a controlled substance” in all of the active cases. (See bail motion)
“The DA did, in fact, reach its prosecutorial decision and they decided to charge, by way of Bill of Information, Darren Sharper with a 7-count Bill of Information involving not only the rape counts of the October incident and the January incident, but some narcotics violations,” said legal analyst Chick Foret.
The drugging and rape allegations were serious enough for the Los Angeles district attorney to request the substantial bond increase. Sharper, who had been out on a $200,000 bond after he was arrested in January also was ordered to remain in L.A. and give up his passport.
Sharper’s Los Angeles attorney, Blair Berk, was quoted in the Los Angeles Times, “We look forward to the true facts being revealed in this case. And, we are hopeful that Mr. Sharper will be fully exonerated before the case is concluded.”
The growing list of complaints is one of the reasons California prosecutors are asking for the steep bond increase.
Foret said all of this will be weighed heavily in determining if Sharper can remain free while awaiting trial.
"We now know that Darren Sharper is facing possible charges, not only in California where charges have actually been filed, but Arizona, Nevada and Louisiana,” said Foret. “That would fall under the danger to the community provision."
In the Los Angeles bill of information, Sharper is accused of slipping morphine and an Ambien-like sleeping drug into the drinks of four women he picked up at the same West Hollywood nightclub two and a half months apart.
That information implies that there is some physical evidence in the case, making it far trickier for Sharper to defend than if there were just the testimony of the alleged victims.
Similar types of claims have been made in the case in Arizona. In that case, Sharper is alleged in November to have partied with a friend and some other women and that the group went to the apartment of one of the alleged victims. Police Department spokesman Mike Pooley said that Sharper allegedly mixed some drinks for the women and served them. He is accused of sexually assaulting two of the women after they passed out.
“At this time the investigation is still ongoing and our detectives are working closely with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in this investigation,” Pooley said.
In addition, investigations into alleged assaults continue in New Orleans and in Nevada.
"We do have an ongoing investigation involving Darren Sharper,” said Nevada Police Officer Jose Hernandez. “Due to the fact that it's an ongoing matter, that's all the information I have at this time. At the end of the investigation, we will decide whether to submit the case to the district attorney's office for consideration of charges."
Sharper played more than a dozen seasons in the NFL, including stops in Green Bay, Minnesota and Louisiana.
Prosecutors said if convicted, Sharper faces more than 30 years in prison.
When Sharper was arrested in Los Angeles on Jan. 17, he was immediately suspended indefinitely without pay from the NFL Network where had been a consultant. For one month in August of 2012, Sharper was an analyst for WWL-TV.
The 38-year-old Sharper spent 14 years in the NFL as a safety. He played for three teams, the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings and then the Saints. He was a five-time Pro-Bowl selection. Sharper was part of the Saints Super Bowl championship team in 2009. Following his second year with Saints in 2010, Sharper announced his retirement.