Former NFL safety Darren Sharper, jailed since February 2014 for rape charges, will be in jail a lot longer. How much longer isn’t yet known.
What is known is that Sharper, who played for the Packers, Vikings, and Saints, will be pleading guilty, apparently to all nine pending charges of rape, in four different states. In each case, Sharper allegedly (or, once the pleas are entered, actually) drugged his victims.
“This plea constitutes a complete vindication of these victims as well as their truthfulness,” Orleans (La.) Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said in a statement Friday, via the New Orleans Times Picayune.
On one hand, the sentence should be lengthy, given that the illegal conduct so many times. On the other hand, pleading guilty avoids the expense and uncertainty of trial, during which anything can happen under the if-it-doesn’t-fit-you-must-acquit standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. If he’s not getting some sort of a break on the sentencing, there’s no reason to not force the prosecution to prove its case.
The plea deal also likely will require Sharper to cooperate with other prosecutions and investigations, which could (in theory) implicate others in a broader pattern of similar misconduct.