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January 13, 2011

Lawrence Taylor cuts a deal on NY state charges to avoid prison time after sex with 16-year-old

As detailed in this Bloomberg story, "[f]ormer New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor will avoid jail time after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor charges for having sex with a prostitute." Here are more of the unsavory details:

Taylor, 51, was charged with having sex in May with a 16-year-old runaway from the Bronx who was brought by a pimp to a hotel in Suffern, New York, where the former player was staying.  Police said Taylor paid the victim $300 after having sex with her.

Taylor pleaded guilty today to sexual misconduct and patronizing a prostitute, the Rockland County, New York, District Attorney’s office said in a statement. Taylor is expected to be sentenced to six years of probation on March 22 and register as a sex offender, the DA’s office said.

Taylor previously pleaded not guilty to third-degree rape, which involves sexual intercourse with a minor; patronizing a prostitute; sexual abuse; and endangering a child....

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said Taylor has cooperated with his office and the U.S. Attorney in a probe of sex trafficking in the New York area.

Zugibe said the 16-year-old girl told investigators she was verbally threatened, physically assaulted and brought to Taylor’s hotel room by Rasheed Davis, who was arrested by the New York City Police Department and is facing federal charges.

“We made a decision to aggressively prosecute this case, notwithstanding a defendant in the public eye,” Zugibe said. “Today’s agreed-upon plea reflects that.”...

Taylor has had a history of off-field problems and admitted in an autobiography to heavy cocaine use.  He underwent rehabilitation for abuse of the drug in 1985 and three years later was suspended by the NFL for 30 days after a second positive test for the substance.

In 1995, Taylor spent time in drug-rehabilitation facilities.  He was arrested in 1996 and 1998 for trying to buy crack cocaine from undercover police officers.

Taylor pleaded guilty to tax evasion in 2000 and received a $10,000 fine and five years probation.  In November 2009, he was arrested in Hialeah, Florida, after crashing into another motor vehicle and leaving the scene.

As is often possible (and frequently happens) after this kind of deal, we could and perhaps should start a discussion about whether this celebrity defendant got a special form of celebrity justice. Given the significant sentencing breaks often given to those who actively cooperate with state and local prosecutors, the fact that LT was allowed to just plead to misdemeanor charges is perhaps not too surprising.  But given his (extensive?) criminal history, I do think he may be getting a bit better treatment than would an unknown involved in the same kind of crime.

January 13, 2011 at 05:53 PM | Permalink

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