Former New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper will spend the next 18 years of his life in prison for admittedly drugging and raping at least 16 women.
The sentencing marks the ending of a lengthy ordeal that began in 2014 when Sharper was arrested on two separate counts of sexual assault stemming from incidents that took place in 2013 and 2014. The first two women making the brave decision to hold Sharper accountable for his despicable actions led to multiple other women coming forward with their stories.
By March of 2015, Sharper was found to have drugged and raped at least 16 women in four states including Arizona, California, Nevada and Louisiana. He plead guilty to three counts of drug distribution with intent to commit rape on March 24, 2015 and accepted a nine-year prison sentence as part of a plea deal stemming from his charges.
Sharper later had the plea deal rejected by Judge Jane Triche-Milazzo on the basis that it was "too lenient" in June of this year.
Triche-Milazzo stated on Thursday that the courts "could not ignore the damage" Sharper inflicted on society and women in general, according to the Associated Press. Her sentiments are in line with her original reasoning for rejecting the initial nine-year plea deal in February, at which time she expressed a desire to follow federal guidelines which recommend a 15-20 year sentence for Sharper's sexually illicit crimes against women.
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As part of his sentence, Sharper will also be required to pay a $20,000 fine, serve three years of supervised release and undergo sex offender rehabilitation treatment. He is also prohibited from consuming alcohol, visiting bars or Internet dating and must seek permission before traveling more than 50 miles from his residence following the end of his prison term.
He will also be placed on lifetime probation in Arizona after his release.
One of the women Sharper admitted to drugging and raping addressed the court with an emotional statement just before his sentencing was announced. She described him as "arrogant" and "twisted" to have continued drugging and raping women even after he knew he was under investigation. She closed out her remarks by telling him to "go to hell," after tearfully stating that she didn't believe his actions to be a mistake, but rather, a way of life.