Miami Beach

Former NFL star Darren Sharper a focus of Miami Beach rape case, others across country

 

Former NFL star being investigated for Miami Beach rape

 
Former pro football player Darren Sharper, center, in Los Angeles court Feb. 14 along with his attorneys Leonard Levine and Blair Berke.
Former pro football player Darren Sharper, center, in Los Angeles court Feb. 14 along with his attorneys Leonard Levine and Blair Berke.
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crabin@MiamiHerald.com

Former NFL star Darren Sharper, who pleaded not guilty to a pair of rape charges in a Los Angeles courtroom Thursday, is now suspected of at least six rapes in five states — including Florida.

Miami Beach police are investigating Sharper after a woman, who said he sexually assaulted her in 2012, said she came forward because she wanted to “clear her conscience.”

Police opened the investigation into Sharper, 38, on Jan. 19, two days after he was arrested in Los Angeles and after the alleged victim learned of the charge. Sharper’s main residence is listed as a $2.9 million home on tony Williams Island.

Miami Beach police declined to discuss the investigation, only releasing an incident report that blacked out information on the woman. The incident allegedly took place Sept. 27 or Oct. 4 in 2012, according to the report. There was no explanation in the report as to why she was unsure of the dates.

According to the report, the woman and two friends visited the Mokai Lounge at 235 23rd St. in Miami Beach between midnight and 1 a.m. on one of those two dates, began drinking, and were introduced to Sharper and a man named Wascar Payano, who police identified as his cousin. Payano could not be reached for comment.

The woman said she was “extremely intoxicated” and remembers Sharper driving them to a condo at 100 South Pointe Dr. She told police she doesn’t remember much after that, but that her friends told her she entered a bedroom in the apartment, shut the door, and was later heard yelling, “No, no, stop. I don’t want to.”

The woman said when she woke later that morning, Sharper quickly put on his pants and told her they did not have sex, before asking her to leave the apartment.

The woman told police she went to a Broward County treatment center in Wilton Manors a week after the incident.

But it wasn’t until after Sharper was arrested Jan. 17 — more than a year after the alleged rape — that the woman contacted police.

WPLG-Channel 10 first reported the Miami Beach investigation into Sharper on Wednesday. He is now also suspected of assaulting women in Louisiana, California, Arizona and Nevada. He faces a 30-year sentence if convicted of the charges in California.

On Thursday, after Sharper declared his innocence in Los Angeles, the judge upped his bond from $200,000 to $1 million and ordered him to steer clear of nightclubs.

Prosecutors had asked for bond to be set at $10 million. During the hearing, prosecutors brought up the new allegation in Miami Beach.

Sharper’s attorney Leonard Levine said he has no information on the Miami Beach investigation and that Sharper “has denied all allegations” in the Los Angeles case.

“We look forward to litigating this case in a court of law,” he said.

His client’s next hearing date, when prosecutors are required to turn over evidence, is scheduled for April 15.

In each of the rape investigations, prosecutors and police allege Sharper plied the women with cocktails laced with some type of drug that knocked them out. In court filings, Los Angeles prosecutors contend Sharper’s drug of choice was morphine and zolpidem, a generic of Ambien.

According to police and Los Angeles prosecutors, Sharper is suspected of raping women beginning in 2012 in Miami Beach.

Last September, a woman in New Orleans came forward but no charges have been filed. The Times Picayune of New Orleans reported that court filings say Sharper’s DNA was found on the woman after rape tests.

On Oct. 30, Sharper is alleged to have met two women at a West Hollywood, Calif., nightclub, inviting them back to an apartment, then drugging them and raping one, according to police and prosecutors. That’s the case he was charged with Thursday.

On Nov. 21, a woman in Tempe, Ariz., came forward with a similar story. That was followed by another woman on Jan. 14 who Sharper allegedly met at the same West Hollywood nightclub. Prosecutors also say Sharper is under investigation for assaulting a woman in Nevada.

Miami Beach police say Sharper escaped another scrape with the law in 2011, when he was cleared of wrongdoing in another rape investigation.

In that instance, two women on spring break from Athens, Ga., told police that they were sexually assaulted in a Miami Beach apartment where he was present.

The women said they spent the evening at South Beach’s Club Mansion before being invited back to an apartment. Both said they woke up and found their panties on the floor. However, rape tests came back negative.

Sharper’s cousin Payano’s name surfaced in that report as well, as did the address of the condominium at 100 South Pointe Dr.

Sharper, a former safety for the New Orleans Saints, was originally arrested Jan. 17 in Los Angeles.

The accusations against Sharper are a contradiction to his public women’s rights persona. As recently as 2010, Sharper contributed to a book called NFL Dad’s Dedicated to Daughters in which he stated: “My daughter makes me mindful of how women are treated, undervalued and exploited.”

Sharper, who records show bought his Aventura home in 2006, also played for the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings during his 14-year NFL career.

A five-time all-pro who wore the number 42, he was named to the league’s 2000s All-Decade team. He retired in 2010.

Most recently he worked as an analyst for the NFL Network, but has been suspended without pay since his arrest.

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