SUFFERN, N.Y. – Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor was charged Thursday with raping a 16-year-old runaway who police said was forced into prostitution by a man who had beaten her up.
Taylor, a 51-year-old former New York Giants star who has faced drug and tax-evasion charges in the past, paid the girl $300 for sex in a Holiday Inn, where he was arrested early Thursday, said Christopher St. Lawrence, supervisor of the town of Ramapo.
The man who’d beaten the girl drove her to Taylor’s suburban hotel room while she texted her uncle for help, police said.
Ramapo Chief of Police Peter Brower said Taylor was cooperative when police woke him up around 4 a.m. Taylor was arraigned Thursday on charges of third-degree rape and patronizing a prostitute.
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“I’m not that important,” Taylor told a scrum of media after being released on $75,000 bail.
His attorney, Arthur Aidala, said Taylor is a “loving family man” who did not have sex with the teenager.
“My client did not have sex with anybody,” Aidala said. “Lawrence Taylor did not rape anybody.”
Brower would not comment on whether Taylor knew the girl’s age; third-degree rape is a charge levied when the victim is under the age of consent, which is 17 in New York.
“Ignorance is not an excuse to an individual’s age,” Brower said.
Police said the girl was reported missing by her family in March and had been staying with a 36-year-old parolee, Rasheed Davis, in the Bronx. The two met a few weeks ago at a Bronx bus stop, New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said.
“He chats her up. She explains she doesn’t have a place to stay. He provides one,” Browne said.
Davis then forced her to perform sexual favors for others, authorities said.
Early Thursday morning, Davis punched and kicked her, drove her to the hotel against her will and told her she had to have sex with Taylor, police said. When she refused, Davis handed her over to Taylor, who sexually assaulted her, they said. Taylor paid her $300, which she gave to Davis, police said.
On the way to Suffern, the girl sent text messages to her uncle spelling out what was happening, Browne said. The uncle then went to the NYPD, he said.
Davis was arrested on charges of unlawful imprisonment, assault and endangering the welfare of a child.