SUFFERN, New York (AP) — Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor raped a 16-year-old runaway in a hotel room encounter arranged by a man who beat her up before driving her to Taylor’s suburban hotel, police said Thursday.
The former New York Giants linebacker was arrested early Thursday at a Holiday Inn in Suffern, said Christopher St. Lawrence, supervisor of the town of Ramapo.
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. Bail was set at $75,000.
Brower would not comment on whether Taylor knew the girl’s age but added, “Ignorance is not an excuse to an individual’s age.” The age of consent in New York is 17.
An attorney for Taylor, Kenneth Gribetz, said, “We’re confident his innocence will be proven.”
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 for a few weeks. Early Thursday morning, Davis beat her up, drove her to the hotel 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.
Davis “struck the young girl with his fist, kicked her and brought her to the Holiday Inn against her will,” NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.
On the way back from Suffern, the girl sent text messages to her uncle spelling out what had happened, 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. He was sentenced in April 1994 to eight to 25 years in prison for first-degree manslaughter. He was paroled in March 2008.
There was no phone number listed at the address provided by police for Davis and it wasn’t clear if he had an attorney. His relationship with the girl was unclear.
The Bronx district attorney’s office refused to comment.
Taylor was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999 and competed in ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” last year. He had a highly publicized struggle with drug addiction and has had multiple legal run-ins since retiring from football.
Police said no drugs were found in Taylor’s hotel room on Thursday, but a bottle of alcohol was found.
A quick, fierce and athletic linebacker who redefined his position, Taylor anchored the Giants’ defense and led New York to Super Bowls titles in 1987 and 1991. He was selected to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.
A 10-time Pro Bowler, he was the NFL Most Valuable Player in 1986 and the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1981, 1982 and 1986. He recorded 132 1/2 sacks, which doesn’t included his 9 sacks in 1981 when the statistic wasn’t official.
In 2001, Taylor was convicted of possessing drug paraphernalia in New Jersey. The conviction stemmed from the September 1998 discovery in a hotel room of a butane torch and other materials commonly used to smoke crack.
In 1996 and 1997, he was arrested in South Carolina and Florida on drug charges. In those cases, he either admitted his guilt or agreed to enter a pretrial intervention program.
In 2000, he drew five years of federal probation for filing false tax returns and for tax evasion.