Darren Sharper was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for drugging and raping two women he met at a West Hollywood nightclub. The prison term will run concurrent to the previous sentence of 18 years, handed down by a New Orleans federal court earlier this year.
Sharper, who retired after 14 years in the NFL and later became an NFL Network analyst, has been accused of drugging and raping women in Southern California, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Tempe, Ariz. Sharper pleaded guilty or no contest to drugging and assaulting nine women, the Los Angeles Times reported. During sentencing in New Orleans, it was reported that 16 people came forward to say they were victims, although not all of those resulted in formal charges.
An initial global plea deal that would have given Sharper nine years in prison was rejected by U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo who said it was inappropriate and too lenient.
In the Los Angeles cases, Sharper pleaded no contest to drugging and raping two women. Before today’s sentencing in Los Angeles, one of the women spoke in the courtroom, the Times reported.
“I can only imagine myself lying there like a vegetable while he took advantage of my body without my permission,” one of the victims said in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on Tuesday. “I have lost every bit of self confidence I’ve ever had and am always in fear while alone. It doesn’t matter whether it’s day or night, I can see a guy and automatically in my head think, ‘What if this guy tries to rape me?’”
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Sharper is appealing his conviction in federal court.