LAWRENCE TAYLOR IN BIG TROUBLE

                                                                                       Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas

Hall of Fame Giant Lawrence Taylor was arrested and charged with rape in the third degree and patronizing a prostitute in Ramapo, New York on Thursday, May 6, 2010. Yes, there was a media circus. Yes, there was a celebrity front and center in the case. Yes, the case of People of the State of New York v. Lawrence Taylor has garnered and will garner lots of attention and lots of publicity.

But how much trouble is Lawrence Taylor really in? It says here that, if the facts are as alleged, Lawrence Taylor is in plenty of trouble.

You know the presumption of innocence – you are innocent until proven guilty. While that’s how our judicial system is supposed to work, sometimes it doesn’t. And, in the court of public opinion or in the world of sports talk radio, often times it’s the other way around. Let’s look at what’s been alleged against Taylor by the prosecution and what his lawyer, New York City attorney Arthur Aidala, had to say about the allegations.

THE ALLEGATIONS

It is alleged by the victim (only identified by her initials C.F., as she is a minor) that she went to room 160 of a Holiday Inn in Suffern, New York and, for $300 that was paid to her by LT, had sex with him. One of the most damning things against Taylor, in this writer/attorney’s opinion, is the fact that, on two occasions during LT’s arraignment, Judge Arnold Edelson, the Town Judge of Ramapo, New York, stated, according to a police affidavit submitted to the court, that Taylor admitted to the police that he had given the girl $300. While defense attorney Aidala said in court that this specific statement would be litigated, the reality is that if both the girl and the cop (from Taylor’s admission) say LT gave the girl $300, it may not matter to a jury that LT later says he didn’t do it.

And that’s a big problem for LT.

In addition, TMZ has reported a used condom was taken from the room. Plus, it’s been reported that a bottle of alcohol and bed sheets, among other things, were taken from the room. DNA evidence is being looked at by the prosecution, another bad sign for LT.

This is going to be more, evidence-wise, than a he said/ she said.

WHAT ABOUT LT’S CELEBRITY?

Well, defense attorney Aidala, on WFAN with Mike Francesa on Friday, seemed to view Taylor’s celebrity as the reason this case is being brought. He essentially said that, if this was not LT and was just a regular citizen, there would be no case.

Not so, says former Bronx Assistant District Attorney Joe Heinzmann: “When someone solicits a prostitute, it is generally true that the police and/or the District Attorney’s office are more interested in prosecuting the pimp rather than the john. But in this situation, where you have an underage girl and a rape charge, there is no prosecutor in New York worth his or her salt who would allow the john to get away scot-free. The notion that he would not be charged, which is what Taylor’s attorney stated, is ridiculous, whether the john is Lawrence Taylor or Lawrence Smith.”

DID TAYLOR ADMIT TO THE POLICE THAT HE HAD SEX WITH THIS GIRL?

While at his arraignment on Thursday, Taylor, according to Judge Edelson, admitted to police that he paid the girl $300 cash, it got much worse for him on Friday. A federal, criminal complaint filed against Rasheed Davis, the alleged pimp, in Manhattan, states that Taylor told the cops that he “met with a female,” and, after “engaging in sex acts,” Lawrence Taylor paid her “$300 in cash.”

Obviously, this is getting very bad, very quickly for Lawrence Taylor.

WHAT’S THE LAW?

Well, the law is pretty clear: Section 130.25 of the New York Penal Law, subsection (2) states: “A person is guilty of rape in the third degree when: (2) being twenty-one years old or more, he or she engages in sexual intercourse with another person less than seventeen years old.”

This is a strict liability crime, that is, it is irrelevant, for purposes of being convicted, that Taylor thought she was older or that she looked older or even (as is alleged) that she told him that she was 19. While those factors may help at sentencing, they are no defense to the actual crime.

HOW OLD IS THE GIRL?

An interesting question. The best way for this rape charge to go away would be if the girl is seventeen or over. According to the federal complaint in the sex-trafficking charge against Rasheed Davis, LT asked for a “skinny Spanish girl.” If the victim is from a foreign country, maybe her birth records are suspect or altered or non-existent. While one would have to think that the prosecutors have checked this out, you can be sure that investigators for the defense are doing the same thing now. Remember, the prosecutor has to prove that this girl was underage.

If it is ever shown that she is not underage, the rape charge would be dismissed and Taylor would be more like the “average” john, that is, he would just have to deal with the misdemeanor charge of patronizing a prostitute.

ARE THER OTHER CRIMES INVOLVED?

An interesting question, as well. Some have incorrectly stated that, whether the sex was actual intercourse or some kind of oral sex, the rape charge would still stand.

Not so, says Attorney Joe Heinzmann: “Sexual intercourse and oral sex are defined differently by the New York Penal Code. There would be a different statute, not the rape statute, that would cover oral sex, for example. That statute is New York Penal Law section 130.40 (2), Criminal sexual act in the third degree. While this is also a Class E felony, which has a penalty, like rape in the third degree, of up to four years in prison, it is a totally different crime than rape in the third degree.”

Since Taylor has already admitted to the police that he “engaged in sex acts” and even his attorney has stated that “there was some kind of contact” in that hotel room, LT is in a ton of trouble – and it looks like a huge problem for him at the end of the day.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Well, the prosecutor up in Ramapo asked for a one-month felony investigation and plans to present the case against Taylor to a grand jury within that time frame. It seems almost a foregone conclusion that Lawrence Taylor will be indicted for rape in the third degree and/or a criminal sexual act in the third degree, as well as patronizing a prostitute and, possibly, other crimes.

While it’s very early in the process, and LT is innocent until proven guilty, this does not look like it will have a happy ending for one of the greatest football players of all-time. His next court date in Ramapo, New York is presently scheduled for June 10, 2010.

© Copyright 2010 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.

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