Thu, Jul 15, 2010 - Page 20 News List

Former gridiron star Taylor pleads not guilty to rape

AFP , NEW YORK

Former NFL star Lawrence Taylor pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges that he paid to have sex with a 16-year-old girl in a New York hotel room.

Taylor pleaded not guilty through his attorney to third-degree rape, patronizing a prostitute, sexual abuse and endangering a child — charges that could put him behind bars for up to four years if he is convicted.

Authorities say the Hall of Fame player paid US$300 to the girl, who had run away from her home in New York.

He was arrested on May 6, after the girl’s uncle contacted New York City police.

Defense attorney Arthur Aidala said Taylor would challenge the girl’s identification of him and would also investigate whether all statements made in the case were voluntary.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have filed a complaint against Rasheed Davis, who is accused of acting as the girl’s pimp.

Court papers in that case say Taylor admitted to sex acts with the girl, but was told she was 19.

Police say ignorance of a minor’s age is not a defense in a charge of third-degree rape.

Taylor was one of the top defensive players in the National Football League.

After earning All-America honors at the University of North Carolina, he played from 1981 to 1993 for the New York Giants and was named to the NFL’s Hall of Fame in 1999.

Taylor was named the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1986.

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