Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor has pleaded not guilty to charges that he had sex with a 16-year-old girl at a Rockland County hotel in Many.
The former NFL star smiled as he arrived at a Rockland County courthouse on Tuesday for arraignment on charges that include third-degree rape. He's also charged with patronizing a prostitute and endangering a child.
The 51-year-old Taylor pleaded not guilty through his lawyer. Earlier, when this reporter asked if he was guilty, Taylor responded, "Grow up.''
During the 15 minute hearing, Prosecutors Judge Nelson approved an order of protection preventing Taylor of having any contact with the alleged victim in the case.
Taylor's attorney, Arthur Aidala, said the alleged victim was an "absolute stranger" to Taylor and that he "does not know this person's name"
Taylor allegedly paid $300 to the girl, a Bronx runaway, for their encounter in May in a hotel room in Montebello. He could be imprisoned for up to four years if convicted.
One potential witness is a 23-year-old woman who told defense investigators that she heard the girl say after meeting Taylor, "It was weird. ... We didn't even have sex.''
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have filed a complaint against Rasheed Davis, who is accused of acting as the girl's pimp and who allegedly assaulted her and brought her to Taylor's hotel room against her will.
Court papers in that case say Taylor admitted to sex acts with the girl but was told the girl was 19. Ignorance of a minor's age is not a defense to third-degree rape, said Peter Brower, chief of the Ramapo police force that arrested Taylor.
Taylor led the New York Giants to Super Bowl titles in 1987 and 1991. He was the National Football League's MVP in 1986 and Defensive Player of the Year in 1981, 1982 and 1986.
Taylor and his lawyer do not deny the young girl was in the hotel room that day, but maintain he did not have sexual intercourse with her as it is legally defined.
After the hearing, Aidala said Taylor is "very much looking for this process to move forward" and to "putting this behind him"