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Sunday, June 23, 2024 | Back issues
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Darren Sharper Friends Sentenced in Rape Case

NEW ORLEANS (CN) — Two friends of jailed serial drug rapist and former-Saints safety Darren Sharper were sentenced Thursday in federal court on rape and obstruction charges.

Brandon Licciardi, 31, a former cop in St. Bernard Parish, was sentenced to 17 years in prison. Erik Nunez, 29, a former waiter at Morten's Steakhouse, was sentenced to 10.

Two women spoke at the sentencing of the pain and betrayal they experienced after realizing they had been raped by the three men, in separate incidents, in 2013 while they were incapacitated. Sixteen other women have brought similar charges, court documents say.

Both Licciardi and Nunez apologized. Nunez read a statement so quickly that it was practically unintelligible.

Sharper pleaded guilty or no-contest over the summer to drug and sexual assault cases in Louisiana and three other states. He was sentenced to 18 years, for which he filed a federal appeal.

"I'm sorry," Nunez said Thursday before U.S. Judge Jane Triche Milazzo read his sentence.

Nunez went on to say that he had "seen one of these women for a significant amount of time and always had a decent relationship" with her.

"I always respected women," Nunez said, "I was always a decent person ..." He also cautioned it is "important to be careful about who you spend your time around."

Licciardi spoke with more emotion during his apology, and told one of the women he had raped, "I made a terrible decision to leave you in the hands of a monster," which apparently meant Sharper. "This should not have happened to you, and I am so sorry."

Court documents paint a portrait of Licciardi as "monster" himself, and as a woman beater — he had bragged in text messages to friends that he had beaten an old girlfriend so badly she "couldn't walk" and could not go to work; and Licciardi's mother told the court during a previous hearing that she and his dad had raised a "monster."

Licciardi went on, still addressing the same woman, "I pray your life is filled with joy, peace and happiness."

The two women at the hearing appeared unmoved by the apologies of Licciardi and Nunez.

"It breaks my heart to know that so many women and children feel worthless because of what men like you do ..." one of the women told Nunez, who, she said, she had always thought was a close friend before realizing he had drugged her and had sex with her and had then passed her off, still incapacitated, to Sharper, who then had sex with her.

"You are the one who is worthless," the woman said. "I want you to feel that shame and hurt that you gave to me and to the other women."

That woman told Nunez she had heard allegations of drug rapes by Sharper and others for months before realizing she was one of the victims and that Nunez had been involved.

"I felt so betrayed," she said.

She spoke of Nunez walking her to her car one night, and, unbeknownst to her, dropping something into her drink.

Then Nunez took her to Darren Sharper's condo, the woman said.

She said she is still haunted by not knowing what happened to her that night. She woke the next morning with a black eye, scratches all over her legs, and bruised ears.

"I am not here for you," the woman said, addressing Nunez. "You are dead to me and have been since I learned [what happened] ... I am here for me."

The second woman, addressing Licciardi directly, said she had never felt "so betrayed in her life."

"I am so disappointed in you," she told Licciardi. "You were a cop."

Licciardi and Nunez each pleaded guilty in federal court this year to one count of conspiracy to distribute drugs with the intent to commit rape. In state court, Licciardi pleaded guilty to sex trafficking and forcible rape, and Nunez pleaded guilty to sexual battery. Both are expected to be receive the same sentences in state court next week.

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