#WTF File: NFL Serial Rapist Darren Sharper May Get A Plea Deal That Includes Penis Monitoring

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  • Darren Sharper Plea Deal Includes Penis Monitoring
    Darren Sharper Plea Deal Includes Penis Monitoring

    Former NFL player and convicted rapist Darren Sharper will be subject to penis monitoring for the rest of his life if two New Orleans judges approve his plea deal. If an agreement is reached Sharper would be treated as a sex offender and closely monitored for the rest of his life. Sharper would also be subject to a “penile plethysmograph” in which a sensor is attached to the penis while an assortment of sexual images flashes before the eyes, to gauge arousal. We look at the story on the Lip News with Jackie Koppell and John Fenoglio.

    Upon Further Review: Inside the Police Failure to Stop Darren Sharper’s Rape Spree

    by T. Christian Miller and Ryan Gabrielson, ProPublica, and Ramon Antonio Vargas and John Simerman, The New Orleans Advocate, April 8, 2015, 8 a.m.

    This story was co-published with the New Orleans Advocate and Sports Illustrated.

    NEW ORLEANS—It was 5:06 a.m. on a Tuesday in September 2013 when sex crimes Detective Derrick Williams caught the call. It came from the hospital. It was a distraught woman. She was saying she had been raped.

    She told Williams a familiar story of French Quarter trespass: She’d hit the clubs the night before, she said. Drank a lot. Met a man. Went to his house. And awoke the next morning to find him on top of her, naked. But she told Williams she had never said yes to sex.

    Williams typed up a brief report. He labeled the incident a rape. But Case No. I-31494-13 wasn’t quite ordinary. The accuser was a former cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints. And the alleged rapist was Darren Sharper, a hero of the Saints’ 2009 Super Bowl team, former Pro Bowl player and broadcast analyst for the league’s television network.

    News of the Sept. 23, 2013 incident quickly shot up the ranks. New Orleans’ police superintendent and top prosecutor were briefed. In the weeks that followed, police records show that Williams gathered evidence. He got a warrant to collect a sample of Sharper’s DNA. It matched a swab taken from the woman’s body. Witnesses told of seeing Sharper with the intoxicated woman at a club, and later at his condo. Video footage confirmed Sharper and the woman had been together.

    It wasn’t enough for the district attorney’s office. This was a “heater” — police shorthand for a high profile case. Prosecutors were hesitant to move too quickly on a local football hero with deep pockets and savvy lawyers, according to two individuals with knowledge of the investigation. They held off on an arrest warrant.

    “If his name was John Brown, he would have been in jail,” one criminal justice official with knowledge of the case said. “If a woman says, ‘He’s the guy that raped me,’ and you have corroborating evidence to show they were together and she went to the hospital and she can identify him, that guy goes to jail.”

    Sharper did not — and continued an unchecked crime spree that ended only with his arrest in Los Angeles last year after sexually assaulting four women in 24 hours. In March, Sharper owned up to his savagery. He agreed to plead guilty or no contest to raping or attempting to rape nine women in four states. The pending deal allows his possible release after serving half of a 20-year sentence — a strikingly light punishment that has drawn widespread criticism.

    Sharper’s rampage of druggings and rapes could have been prevented, according to a two-month investigation by ProPublica and The New Orleans Advocate based on police records in five states, hundreds of pages of court documents and dozens of interviews across the country.

    Nine women reported being raped or drugged by Sharper to four different agencies before his January 2014 capture. But police and prosecutors along the way failed to investigate fully the women’s allegations. They made no arrests. Some victims and eyewitnesses felt their claims were downplayed. Corroborating evidence, including DNA matches and video surveillance, was minimized or put on hold.

    Perhaps most critically, police did not inquire into Sharper’s history. Had they done so, they would have detected a chilling predatory pattern that strongly bolstered the women’s accounts.

    Sharper typically chose victims who were white women in their early 20s, records show. He picked them up in pairs at nightclubs, and took them home to his hotel or residence. Sharper had drinks with them, sometimes lacing drinks he gave the women with drugs that rendered them unconscious.

    The ProPublica and Advocate investigation thus reveals wider problems in the prosecution of sexual assaults in America. More than 20 years after Congress and state legislatures reformed laws to put more rapists in prison, police and prosecutors do not take full advantage of the tools at their disposal.

    One key part of the change was to make it easier to use a suspect’s history of sexual assaults at trial. But prosecutors and police often do not seek out other possible victims. One recent assessment called the reform effort “a failure.”

    The FBI also created a database to contain detailed case descriptions to help police capture serial rapists who operate across state lines. But it is seldom used. Of 79,770 rapes reported to police in 2013, only 240 cases were entered into the database — 0.3 percent. Read The Rest

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