LT sentenced to 6 years of probation
NEW CITY, N.Y. (AP)
The teenage girl at the center of the sex-crimes case against football great Lawrence Taylor made a surprise appearance at his sentencing Tuesday, eager to declare that he should be behind bars.
She was denied the chance to speak in court, and Taylor was sentenced to six years on probation, as agreed when he pleaded guilty in January to sexual misconduct and patronizing an underage prostitute.
The former New York Giants linebacker must register as a sex offender, but a hearing on exactly how that will affect him was postponed to April 12.
The girl arrived with celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, who described her as "a sex-trafficking victim." The girl, now 17, has been identified in court and by Allred only by the initials C.F.
Allred would not say if the girl plans a lawsuit against Taylor, but said, ''We look forward to representing her as she continues her fight for justice.''
She said Taylor ''should be in the hall of shame, not the Hall of Fame.''
The girl was 16 - under the age of consent - when she met Taylor last May. Speaking outside the Rockland County Courthouse, she denied she was a prostitute and said another man, whom she called Rasheed, forced her to go into Taylor's Montebello hotel room by punching her in the face.
She said Taylor should have been able to tell she had been beaten and that she was underage.
''I believe Mr. Taylor could see my face and how young I was,'' she said. ''I did what he told me to do because I was afraid what would happen if I didn't.''
She added, her voice breaking, ''I am upset that he will not go to jail for what he did to me.''
The other man has been identified in a separate federal prosecution in Manhattan as Rasheed Davis, who is accused of acting as the girl's pimp and who allegedly assaulted her and brought her to Taylor's room at the Holiday Inn. Prosecutors have credited Taylor with helping them in that case.
Taylor said when he pleaded guilty that the girl told him she was 19. His attorney, Arthur Aidala, said Tuesday that Taylor ''did not intend to patronize a prostitute who was under legal age.''
He apologized on Taylor's behalf to Taylor's wife, family and fans.
Aidala criticized Allred for exposing the girl to the public eye, saying, ''This young woman is being victimized once again.''
The girl had hoped to read her statement in court, but Taylor's lawyer objected and state Supreme Court Justice William Kelly said victims are entitled to speak only at felony sentencings. Taylor's crimes were misdemeanors.
Taylor was arrested after the girl's uncle contacted New York City police. The ex-athlete was originally charged with third-degree rape.
When he pleaded guilty to the lesser charges, Taylor admitting having intercourse with the girl, who turned out to be a Bronx runaway. He said he paid her $300.
Taylor led the Giants to Super Bowl titles in 1987 and 1991. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the NFL's 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.
In 2009, he competed in ABC's ''Dancing With the Stars.'' He had also been a spokesman for the weight-loss company NutriSystem, but he was dropped after his arrest.
After the hearing in April, the judge will decide whether to classify Taylor as a Level 1, 2 or 3 sex offender - low, medium or high risk. It appeared in court that Aidala will argue for Level 1 while prosecutors are suggesting Level 2.
John Caher, spokesman for the state Criminal Justice Services Division, said Level 1 offenders aren't posted on a public website, but anyone who calls the division can find out if a person is a sex offender.
All sex offenders have to report their addresses annually and report changes within 10 days.
Aidala persuaded the judge to modify some of the probation restrictions generally imposed on sex offenders. For example, the judge said Taylor would be allowed to bring his young son to school or to a park. He also agreed to a 1 a.m. curfew for Taylor instead of 11 p.m.
In addition, Taylor will be permitted to serve his probation in Broward County, Fla., where he lives.
Kelly offered Taylor a chance to speak in court before the sentencing but Taylor declined, saying, ''I'm fine, judge.''