Former Vikings safety Darren Sharper is a monster. That’s pretty much been decided based on the preponderance of evidence linking him to so many sexual assaults — which will keep him in jail for at least nine years, which is not even close to long enough.
What you might not have read is the chilling detail of how his serial assault binge was allowed to happen. Pro Publica has a great, but depressing long read about the failures of police in the Sharper case. It’s fair, but it hits hard. Here is the upshot:
And each of the cases involving Sharper, taken in isolation, presented prosecutors with hurdles. In secretly recorded phone calls with his victims, Sharper didn’t make incriminating statements. He moved fast, in one city one day and in another the next. He drugged many of his victims with powerful amnesiacs, resulting in cloudy or even non-existent memories.
But taken as a whole, the Sharper case underscores American law enforcement’s trouble with solving rape cases: Investigations are often cursory, sometimes incompetent, frequently done in ignorance of the suspect’s past sex assault history.
Sharper’s victims suffered the failures most. With Sharper, they encountered a man practiced in defense and deception. With police and prosecutors, they found deference toward the accused, and what often felt like disbelief concerning their claims.