Former NFL star Darren Sharper cuts deal on rape charges in 4 states

Mar 20, 2015 3:37 PM by News Staff, Photo: Tulane Public Relations / MGN

Former NFL star Darren Sharper has cut a plea agreement with authorities in four states and the federal government on charges that he drugged and raped women across the country during a four-month period from September 2013 through January 2014.

Authorities in Louisiana, Nevada, Arizona and California charged Sharper with rape while the federal charges included distributing a controlled substance "with the intent to commit a crime of violence which is rape." It was unclear how many additional women the federal charges encompass.

Sharper's attorney Blair Berk announced the plea deal in a Los Angeles courtroom Friday, the same day prosecutors in Las Vegas filed new charges against Sharper. Each of those counts carried the potential sentence of 10 years to life in prison.

It's expected that Sharper will plead guilty on Monday in California and then travel to Louisiana in the next 30 days to plead guilty to state and federal charges in New Orleans.

"I want to thank the victims who have stood tall and remained very strong throughout this process," Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said in a statement. "...This plea constitutes a complete vindication of these victims as well as their truthfulness."

CBS News has learned that as of August 2014, the rape kits in the Las Vegas case, a collection of DNA swabs taken from the victims, were not tested even eight months after the women went to the police.

"There was extensive forensic testing done by the [police] lab that included assistance from FBI Lab in this case," a spokesperson for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told CBS News in an email. "I am unable to provide you with the dates."

In October 2014, was CBS News was first to report that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department had a backlog of over 5,000 untested rape kits in storage. As of December, the Sharper case had yet to be transferred to the Clark County Prosecutor's office.

By then, Sharper was facing sexual assault charges in Arizona, Louisiana and California as well as federal charges for drugging women in Louisiana using a controlled substance "with the intent to commit a crime of violence, that is rape."

The two victims in the alleged Las Vegas assault lived in Massachusetts at the time and were on vacation. According to police reports, the women met Sharper at a nightclub.

Sharper invited the two women and one man to his hotel room for an "after party" but they soon realized no one else was coming to the "party" according to the police report. Sharper allegedly handed out shots of alcohol to them and moments later the three said they all passed out.

One of the women told police she later woke up next to Sharper in his bed. In the bathroom she noticed "visible injuries to her face which she could not account for." She said she fell back asleep.

Later, she told police, that when she woke up again Sharper told her she had "gotten sick" and urged her to drink another "unknown beverage." She told police the next thing she knew, Sharper was raping her.

The second woman told police she woke up on the couch and immediately felt that she had been sexually assaulted. The women left and that night sought medical help and rape kits were taken.

Sharper began his alleged string of assaults in late September 2013 in New Orleans, when a woman reported a rape to the police.

One month later, there was another report to the police for an alleged assault in Los Angeles, followed by another report in November to authorities in Tempe, Arizona. No action was taken by any law enforcement agency.

In mid-January 2014, the two alleged Las Vegas victims went to the police. The following night, another alleged assault was reported to police in Los Angeles.

It wasn't until the second Los Angeles allegations that the LAPD arrested Sharper, who pleaded not guilty in February 2014.

There have been other law enforcement missteps around the country in the cases involving Sharper.

Back in 2011, two women accused Sharper of sexual assault in Miami Beach, Florida and went to a rape crisis center to have rape kits taken.

Miami Beach police officers wrote in a police report obtained by CBS News that nurse Victoria Faya, the medical professional on staff at the rape crisis center, told them that she "did not find any evidence of sexual battery."

However, when reached by phone, Faya told CBS News, "I would never say that, that's not my role."

The Miami Beach Police Department told CBS News that they did not have probable cause in the case to charge Sharper.

The case against Sharper in New Orleans was handled by a Detective Derrick Williams, who was later found by the city's Inspector General to have failed to investigate 97 percent of the cases he was working on, including the Sharper case.

Williams is still under administrative investigation. His attorney, Eric Hessler, told CBS News in a statement that Williams "stands by his belief that the investigation was conducted to the best of his abilities."

Sharper played in the NFL for 14 years with the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints. He retired from professional football in 2010.

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