New Orleans - Former NFL star Darren Sharper was sentenced Thursday to more than 18 years in prison for drugging women in order to rape them — double the sentence recommended by prosecutors.
One of Sharper’s victims — the only one to speak at his sentencing hearing — rebuffed his display of contrition.
“For the list of people you’ve done this to: Go to hell,” she said. Her name was not given in court, and The Associated Press does not identify victims of sexual abuse by name.
The former New Orleans Saints safety, jailed since February 2014, apologized and appeared chastened by his fall from grace.
“I would like to apologize a thousand times,” the 40-year-old Sharper said. Later, he said, looking down and sighing, “I’m still trying to figure out why I made some of these choices.”
His voice quivered and choked with emotion when he apologized to his parents.
U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo, in sentencing Sharper, told him she couldn’t understand how he did what he did, since he was college educated and obviously had grown up “in one of the most loving households.”
“We can never ignore the damage you inflicted on those women and society at large,” she said.
Sharper had pleaded guilty in federal court in New Orleans to drugging three women so he could rape them. He also has pleaded guilty or no contest in state courts in Louisiana, Arizona, California and Nevada to charges arising from allegations of drugging and raping women.
Defense attorney Billy Gibbens asked for leniency because Sharper’s testimony helped get “late” guilty pleas from two codefendants who will be sentenced in October.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael McMahon told the judge, “I don’t think Mr. Sharper has really wrapped his head around the fact that he is a serial rapist.”