Darren Sharper Gets Nine Years in Prison for Sex Crimes

Former NFL safety Darren Sharper was sentenced today in Maricopa County to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to two sex crimes.

Sharper was accused of drugging drinks and sexually assaulting two women in a Tempe apartment in late 2013, and this morning pleaded guilty to sexual assault and attempted sexual assault.

Sharper faces similar accusations and charges in several other states.

See also: -Darren Sharper Indicted in Tempe Sexual Assaults

"Today's agreement holds this defendant appropriately accountable for his criminal acts and eliminates a potentially lengthy delay in providing justice to his victims," Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery says in a statement. "This outcome also serves to underscore that anyone committing sexual assault in Arizona will suffer severe consequences regardless of their stature in the community."

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Sharper's been jailed there since February 2014 on similar charges. Sharper made his court appearance today by phone from the jail in L.A.

The Associated Press reported over the weekend that according to Sharper's attorney, Sharper "would enter pleas in the Los Angeles and Phoenix areas on Monday that would resolve allegations there and in New Orleans and Las Vegas."

Sharper, 39, also was accused of drugging and sexually assaulting women in the other states.

In Tempe, Sharper was in town to visit a friend, and after a night out with her and her friends, they went back to one woman's apartment. There, Sharper allegedly drugged some drinks and gave them to two women, who passed out. Sharper allegedly sexually assaulted the women after they passed out.

The District Attorney in L.A. described a very similar crime there.

After meeting two women at a nightclub in West Hollywood on October 30, he invited them to another party but said he had to stop by his hotel room first.

He's accused of giving shots of alcohol containing drugs to both women, and they passed out. One of the women reported getting sexually assaulted.

The same series of events transpired with two other women on January 15, and one of the women "believed she'd been sexually assaulted," according to the district attorney's statement.

According to the DA, Sharper's accused of drugging the women with zolpidem (Ambien) and morphine.

According to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, Sharper will serve his sentence in federal prison, and any sentence he gets in Louisiana will run concurrently to this sentence. However, Sharper must serve the full nine years, and will be on probation for life after release from prison.

Sharper, a safety who played in the NFL for 14 seasons -- more than half of them for the Green Bay Packers -- was selected to the Pro Bowl five times in his career and is ranked seventh in NFL history for career interceptions. He also played for the Minnesota Vikings and won a Super Bowl ring with the New Orleans Saints.

UPDATE 11:23 a.m.: The AP confirmed that Sharper pleaded no contest to charges in California.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley