A former player for the New Orleans Saints has been charged with aggravated rape in Louisiana. Our Baton Rouge readers may have heard that Darren Sharper was charged with similar offenses in Los Angeles in January. Initially, the court there set bail at $200,000. But Sharper appeared in court on the charges more recently and bail was raised to $1 million. Among the conditions of pre-trial release imposed in the California charges, the judge ordered that Sharper remain in the county.
Officials in Louisiana charged Sharper with aggravated rape for an alleged incident in September in New Orleans. As a result of the Louisiana charges, Sharper has turned himself in to authorities on the West Coast, where he remains under court order in the separate criminal case.
Criminal investigations can involve complex issues. Often, when a person is suspected of a crime in one area, local law enforcement agencies may seek to tie the person to other crimes. But, high profile cases may raise issues in other jurisdictions. It is important to note that a charge involves allegations of the government, and does not include a legal finding of guilt. In the West Coast case, Sharper’s defense lawyer said in court that any sex that he engaged in was consensual.
Sex crime cases often include allegations that may not necessarily have many witnesses, other than the accused and an alleged victim. While the government may obtain other forms of evidence (such as DNA evidence) disputes may still remain. Our system guarantees that a person has the right to challenge the state’s evidence. Among the many rights in a criminal case, a person has the right to confront the witnesses against him or her.
Source: CNN, “Former NFL star Darren Sharper faces more rape charges,” Steve Almasy, Feb. 27, 2014