Former New Orleans Saints star safety Darren Sharper on Friday pleaded guilty to three rape-related felonies that will likely land him in prison for nearly a decade.
Sharper, 39, accepted the charges as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, for which the disgraced NFL star will assist investigators in the prosecution of other defendants. Sharper pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute drugs to commit rape, and two counts of distributing drugs to commit rape.
Louisiana is just one of four states prosecuting Sharper for what prosecutors have said is a long list of rapes premeditated and carried out by the former defensive back following the final years of his playing career.
In March, Sharper pleaded guilty in Arizona to sexual assault and no contest in California. A day later, he pleaded guilty to a reduced felony of attempted sex assault in Nevada. In all, authorities said, nine women accused Sharper of sex assault between 2011 and 2014. He retired from football in 2010.
If a judge approves the plea agreement, Sharper will spend 10 years in prison for all of the charges against him, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.
Sharper was arrested in January 2014 and was jailed a month later. Authorities are also pursuing cases against two other men in the case — including a former Louisiana sheriff’s deputy. Both have pleaded not guilty.
Sharper was an All-Pro six times in his NFL career, which included stints with the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints.
The charges against Sharper carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each count, meaning the former football star could have spent the rest of his life behind bars without the plea agreement.
Sharper will be sentenced Aug. 20. He is also scheduled for a hearing on June 15, the Times-Picayune reported.
SOURCE: UPI – Doug G. Ware