Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Updated: March 23, 11:13 PM ET
Lawrence Taylor sentenced in sex case
By Jane McManus
NEW CITY, N.Y. -- Lawrence Taylor was given six years' probation on Tuesday for an encounter with an underage prostitute.
One of the original charges against Taylor was for statutory rape, and if found guilty, he could have received a four-year prison sentence. He pleaded guilty in January to sexual misconduct and patronizing a prostitue. The girl was 16 at the time of the incident. The Rockland County District Attorney's office did not request jail time for Taylor.
Both the victim in the case, identified as C.F. due to her age and status as a minor in a rape case, and her attorney, Gloria Allred, said Tuesday that they were disappointed that the former New York Giants Hall of Fame linebacker did not get jail time.
"Lawrence Taylor should be in the hall of shame, not the Hall of Fame," Allred said.
C.F. sat in the front row of Judge William Kelly's courtroom, and was prepared to read a statement before Taylor's sentencing. But Kelly ruled that victim statements are allowed only in felony cases; Taylor pleaded to misdemeanor charges. The victim was 16 when Taylor was arrested at a Holiday Inn in Suffern, N.Y., last May.
C.F., in a ponytail and wearing little makeup, instead read her statement on a concrete patio in front of a dozen cameras after the proceedings concluded. She hesitated with words, like "patronizing," and wept at the conclusion, turning to hug Allred.
"Every day I have to look in the mirror and know I am not the same," said C.F., who denied that she was a prostitute.
Taylor admitted having intercourse with the girl, who turned out to be a Bronx runaway. He said she told him she was 19, but he added that he now knows the girl was 16 and legally incapable of consent. He said he paid her $300.
"I believe Mr. Taylor could see my face and how young I was," she said.
Taylor also will have to abide by the conditions of a sex offender. But the judge postponed until April 12 a hearing to determine what level of sex offender will be assigned to him.
All sex offenders have to report their address annually and report any changes in 10 days.
At Levels 1 and 2, offenders have to get their picture taken every three years; in Level 3, this occurs every year. Level 3 offenders also have to report the name and address of their employer and advise of any change.
John Caher, spokesman for the state Criminal Justice Services Division, said that although Level 1 offenders aren't posted on a public website, anyone who calls the division can find out if a person is a sex offender.
Taylor's attorney, Arthur Aidala, said he was able to remove many of the more onerous restrictions for Taylor that usually go along with being a sex offender, such as not having a DVD player or being able to use a computer.
Aidala said that Taylor wanted to make sure he could still pick up his 5-year-old son, who he and his wife, Lynette, adopted. He also wanted to remove provisions requiring therapy and prohibiting him -- Taylor says he is sober when it comes to drugs like cocaine and heroin -- from drinking wine. Kelly said he would leave both items up to probation officials in Broward County, Fla., where Taylor lives and will serve the term.
Aidala was able to have an 11 p.m. curfew pushed back to 1 a.m., but Taylor will not be able to visit social networking sites such as Facebook and still has to contribute a DNA sample.
When asked if he wanted to address the court, Taylor declined. "I'm fine, judge, thank you."
Allred would not say if she planned to file a civil lawsuit now that criminal proceedings have concluded.
"We look forward to representing [C.F.] as she continues her fight for justice," she said.
Allred expressed outrage over several factors in the proceedings, including that Taylor was allowed to plead guilty to patronizing a prostitute. C.F. was allegedly beaten and forced to go to Taylor's hotel room by Rasheed Davis, who faces federal sex trafficking charges in the case. Everything she did that night in Taylor's room, Allred said, was done out of fear of further abuse.
Both Allred and C.F. said there were signs, such as a swollen eye, that she was not in the hotel room of her own free will.
"I did what he told me to do because I was afraid [of] what would happen if I didn't," C.F. said.
C.F. said she would have been willing to testify at a trial.
"I think that Mr. Taylor should have to go to jail for what he did to me," C.F. read from her statement.
In a comparatively brief address, Rockland County district attorney Thomas Zugibe said C.F. was indeed a victim and that justice was served by forcing Taylor to account for criminal conduct.
"It's the very conduct he engaged in here that creates a market for human trafficking," Zugibe said.
After Allred spoke in front of assembled cameras, Taylor's attorney vigorously refuted the characterization of his client, and said Allred was making things worse for C.F. by making her a public figure.
"This young woman is being victimized once again," Aidala said. "Nobody knew who she was. Everybody in the district attorney's office and on the defense team went to great lengths to protect her name, to protect her image so she could go forth in life in this world of Internet, where things live on forever and ever, so she could go on without this being a blemish on her record."
He then used words like "pathetic" and "a disgrace" to characterize Allred's involvement in the case. He had watched as Allred addressed reporters and C.F. read her statement, and smiled and shook his head as C.F. cried on Allred's shoulder.
Aidala said C.F.'s relationship with Davis involved drugs and strip clubs. He said that he was sure Allred would file a civil case by the close of business Tuesday.
Jane McManus is a reporter and columnist for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.