Ex-NFL star Sharper sentenced to 20 years in prison in drug, rape cases
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Former professional football player Darren Sharper appears for his arraignment at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles, California February 20, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
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(Reuters) - Former National Football League star Darren Sharper was sentenced on Tuesday to 20 years in prison after admitting to drugging and raping two women in California, concluding a string of sexual abuse cases that spanned several states.
Sharper, 41, pleaded no contest to charges in California of rape by use of drugs and furnishing a controlled substance, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said in a statement. District Attorney spokeswoman Jane Robinson said this was the last sentencing he faced.
The sentence will run concurrently with a previous 18-year sentence handed down in a federal court in Louisiana on similar charges, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the eastern district of Louisiana.
An attorney for Sharper could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday.
In the California case, Sharper admitted to meeting two women at a West Hollywood nightclub in October 2013 and later inviting them to his hotel room. He gave both of the women a drink, which made them both pass out, prosecutors said.
One woman woke up naked hours later with Sharper sexually assaulting her and the second woman woke up and stopped the attack, prosecutors said.
Months later, in January 2014, Sharper met two separate women and followed the same procedure, prosecutors said. The two women woke up hours later and one woman believed she had been sexually assaulted. Both left the hotel and sought medical treatment, prosecutors said.
Sharper, a five-time Pro Bowl safety who retired from the NFL in 2011 after helping lead the New Orleans Saints to a Super Bowl championship, had pleaded guilty in federal court in Louisiana in May 2015 to distributing controlled substances to three unsuspecting women and then sexually assaulting them while they were incapacitated.
He has also pleaded guilty or no contest to rape or attempted rape charges involving several women in Arizona and Nevada.
Sharper's 14-year career in the NFL included stints with the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings. He was working as an NFL Network analyst when women began to allege they had blacked out while drinking with him and woke up to find they had been raped.
His 20 year sentence will be served in federal prison at a location to be determined by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in eastern Louisiana. The sentences will run concurrently as part of a negotiated plea deal, the office said.
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by David Gregorio)
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