Former NFL Star Darren Sharper Pleads Not Guilty to Rape of Women He Met at WeHo’s Bootsy Bellows

Darren Sharper
Darren Sharper

Former NFL safety Darren Sharper pleaded not guilty today to charges of drugging and raping two women he allegedly met at Bootsy Bellows.

Sharper, 38, had been free on $200,000 bail, but his bail was increased to $1 million during his arraignment hearing. Sharper posted the increased amount after the hearing.

Prosecutors had asked that Sharper’s bail be increased to $10 million in light of allegations that he has “committed several offenses against multiple victims in numerous jurisdictions.”

In a court declaration, an investigating officer wrote that he has reviewed police reports from New Orleans, Las Vegas and Tempe, Ariz., involving similar alleged sexual assaults between September and this past January.

Sharper was charged Feb. 14 with two counts of rape by use of drugs, four counts of furnishing a controlled substance and one count of possession of a controlled substance. If convicted as charged, he could face more than 30 years in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

He is due back in court April 15, when a date will be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for him to stand trial. While free on bail, he was ordered not to go to any bars or nightclubs and not be alone with any women he did not know prior to Oct. 30.

The felony charges involve an alleged rape of a woman he met at Bootsy Bellows, the nightclub at 9229 Sunset Blvd. near Doheny, on Oct. 30 and an alleged Jan. 15 rape of another woman he met a night earlier at the same club. The alleged attacks occurred in a hotel room, prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors, the alleged assaults followed a pattern. In each case, they alleged, Sharper met two women at Bootsy Bellows and invited them to another party. Both times, he allegedly told them he had to stop by his Los Angeles hotel room to pick something up and invited both women up to his room. The former football player allegedly gave each woman a shot of alcohol and both passed out.

In the Oct. 30 incident, prosecutors say one of the women woke up naked hours later as Sharper was sexually assaulting her. The other woman allegedly interrupted the attack, and both women left the hotel. In the Jan. 15 incident, prosecutors allege that one of the women invited to Sharper’s hotel room woke up hours later and believed she had been sexually assaulted, with both of the women leaving the hotel and seeking medical treatment.

According to the criminal complaint, the controlled substance allegedly used in both instances was the sleep medication zolpidem, and the substance in the Jan. 17 possession charge — the day Sharper was originally arrested — was morphine.

Sharper — a member of the league’s 2000s All-Decade Team and a five- time Pro Bowl selection — was suspended from his job as an analyst with the NFL Network following his arrest. Sharper played for the Green Bay Packers in 1997-2004, the Minnesota Vikings in 2005-2008 and New Orleans Saints in 2009-2010. He was part of the Saints team that won Super Bowl XLIV in February 2010.

Defense attorney Blair Berk said on Feb. 14, when Sharper was charged, that “We look forward to the true facts being revealed in this case and we are hopeful that Mr. Sharper will be fully exonerated before this case is concluded.”