Eleven victims drugged unconscious. Seven women raped. Five different cases in four different cities. Those are the accusations piling up against one-time Saints star defensive back Darren Sharper.
The string of recent allegations against Sharper began with a rape complaint from a woman in New Orleans. The victim told police she accompanied Sharper to a Warehouse District bar on Sept. 23, where she passed out after Sharper gave her a drink. The next thing she remembered, according to police, was waking up with Sharper sexually assaulting her.
Within 24 hours of that alleged rape, Sharper was attending a charity event for women in Slidell, according to publicity material and tweets from Sharper’s Twitter account. In fact, Sharper has been a featured participant at the roving event – called the “Football Camp for Her Expo” – for several years.
While Sharper's private life is now darkened by the multiple rape allegations, his public persona has been just the opposite. For years, Sharper has been heavily involved in a variety of charitable causes for women.
"We have lots of examples of people who turn out to be something very different than their public image,” said law professor Tania Tetlow, director of Tulane’s domestic violence clinic. “It may turn out that he’s a raving hypocrite.”
One of the charities in which Sharper has been heavily involved was started by him and his marketing coordinators, Darryn and Cherine DeWalt. Cherine DeWalt answered a telephone number for the charity on Tuesday, but declined comment.
The organization, called “Get Checked or Check Out,” encourages breast cancer awareness and seeks to eliminate health disparities in minority communities. The group was incorporated in 2010, state records show.
Sharper also has been appearing at “Football Camp for Her” events since at least 2011, according to promotional material. The events, which provide a mix of football information seminars and women’s physical fitness clinics, are featured in several YouTube videos.
The videos show Sharper being greeted on stage by a cluster of women, while other women in the audience applaud wildly. Saints wide receiver Lance Moore, another client of the DeWalts, is also featured prominently.
Before the event, on Sept. 21, this message appeared on Sharper’s Twitter account: “luv the lady in your life – Breast Cancer program w/me @lancemoore16 & more! Tues24th.”
Directly after the event, Sharper posted: "What a great time!"
Another promotional tweet from Sharper appeared on Nov. 1, in which he encouraged women to “get your tix” for the “Football Camp for Her….You will be touched in many ways.”
That tweet came one day after Sharper allegedly laced the drinks of two women and a man in a Las Vegas hotel room, knocking them out. One of the women told police that when she regained consciousness, Sharper was sexually assaulting her.
Tetlow said it is not uncommon to find seemingly split personalities among men who prey on women.
“They way they try to hide the fact that they are doing this awful, evil thing, is by looking like the direct opposite, by taking on the issue they're terrible about," Tetlow said.
Sharper's attention to women's issue goes back to at least 2010, when he contributed to this book, "NFL Dads Dedicated to Daughters."
In the book, he wrote this line about his daughter, now a teenager:
"My daughter makes me mindful of how women are treated: undervalued and exploited. Which is why I feel compelled to take advantage of this opportunity to speak up about domestic violence."
Sharper’s image of concern for women, whether cultivated or real, stands in sharp contrast to the criminal allegations he is now facing.
The allegations against Sharper began surfacing when he was arrested in Los Angeles on Jan. 17 in connection to two rape complaints, the most recent from Jan. 15.
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office has since formally charged Sharper with two counts of rape by the use of drugs and five narcotics counts for allegedly spiking the drinks of his victims with morphine and a drug with the same chemical compound as Ambien.
He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Los Angeles. At the same hearing, he will hear his fate on a prosecution request to raise his bail to $10 million based on the additional rape complaints still under investigation in New Orleans, Las Vegas and Tempe, Ariz., according to court documents. (See a police report from Tempe, Arizona)
The 38-year-old Sharper spent 14 years in the NFL as a safety. He played for the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and the Saints, where he was part of the 2009 Super Bowl championship team. After his second year with the Saints in 2010, Sharper retired and became an analyst with the NFL network.
Sharper was suspended by the network immediately after his arrest in Los Angeles.
Sharper’s New Orleans attorney, Nandi Campbell, did not return calls for comment.