Celebrity becomes a side issue for Taylor

Lawrence Taylor didn’t show up today for his sex offender hearing in the Rockland County Courthouse in New City. He wasn’t obligated to show since the proceeding is civil, not criminal.

The retired grid-iron great left it up to his attorney, Arthur Aidala, to do the talking. The last time Taylor talked after his sentencing he downplayed the crime of prostitution and his paying woman for sex in an interview with a cable news station — an issue that came up during his risk assessment hearing on Tuesday.

Taylor, 53, who now lives in Florida, was convicted patronizing a prostitute, a 16-year-old runaway girl from the Bronx, and sexual misconduct. The former Giant linebacker admitted during sentencing in January that he and the girl had sexual intercourse. Supreme Court Justice William A. Kelly sentenced Taylor to  six-years probation and a $1,400 fine in March 2011. The girl showed up with her lawyer.

In a statement to Ramapo police after his May arrest, Taylor told Detective Richard Strathey that he had oral sex on the the girl, after mutual back tubs. Police recovered a condom with their DNA. He also told Strathey that he and the girl  talked and she left the room to make a telephone call — to a family member. Taylor declined to name the friend who had hooked up with Rasheed Davis, 37, who brought the girl up to Rockland. Davis beat her up before forcing her into Taylor’s room at the Holiday Inn in Montebello.

In court today, Aidala convinced Kelly to classify Taylor as a low-risk Level one sex offender. That means Taylor’s name, photo and address will not appear of sex offender registries run by New York and Florida.

Maybe, Kelly didn’t need too much convincing. The judge tried to focus Aidala on the issues of contention, telling the lawyer he saw his point on several collateral subjects.

There was lots of discussions on the media and Taylor’s celebrity.

At one point, the discussion  compared Taylor with Tiger Woods as far as a negative reputation hurting an athlete’s ability to garner endorsements. Kelly noted that despite Woods’ problems and loss of sponsors, the golfer “still makes $85 million and the whole world knows about his dalliances or whatever you call it.”

Woods  issue came up when Aidala discussed how a level two sex offender classification could economically harm Taylor. Level two would mean Taylor’s name, address, photo and conviction would be added to public sex registries. for life

The level one classification would keep Taylor anonymous, though Kelly pointed out Taylor’s case is no secret having been on television, newspapers, and the Internet. SInce Taylor didn’t have to attend the hearing – and didn’t – four reporters attended, compared to dozens and the circus-like atmosphere when he did appear in court.

Aidala said businesses like Nike would check and could become hesitant to use Taylor if his name was out there.

Kelly then cited Woods, leading Aidala to note that Woods is still active while Taylor works as a retired player. Kelly then pointed out in the real world we’re a society based on money

“My determination is not going to be based on media reports,” Kelly said. “I’ll decide this on the law.”

Aidala said, “I knew that and knew that when we first walked into this courtroom,” leading Kelly to respond, “You don’t have to compliment me.”

Upper right: Young woman who Taylor paid $300 for sex and her lawyer Gloria Allred

Upper left: Lawrence Taylor and local attorney Alan Brill

Lower Right: Taylor’s lawyer, Arthur Aidala

Steve Lieberman

Steve Lieberman joined The Journal News as an editor in February 1984 and became a reporter during the spring of 1986. He has covered police, courts and legal issues for more than a decade, after reporting on county, town, village and state governments and general issues. He received more than a dozen state awards for writing and reporting. Born and raised in The Bronx, he has lived in Rockland since 1988.