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Pro Football Hall of Famer charged in rape case

By the CNN Wire Staff
Lawrence Taylor's lawyer said he is "preparing to fight each and every one of those charges."
Lawrence Taylor's lawyer said he is "preparing to fight each and every one of those charges."
  • Taylor leaves courthouse after posting $75,000 bail
  • Lawyer says former New York Giant Lawrence Taylor denies charges
  • Former linebacker charged with rape, patronizing prostitute
  • Police investigating accusations involving 16-year-old runaway

(CNN) -- Hall of Fame football linebacker Lawrence Taylor was charged Thursday with rape and patronizing a prostitute in a case involving a 16-year-old girl, police in Ramapo, New York, said.

Taylor's attorney said the former New York Giants star denied the charges and will fight them.

"My client did not have sex with anybody. Period," Arthur Aidala said, adding: "Lawrence Taylor did not rape anybody."

Taylor appeared at an afternoon court hearing where a judge set bail at $75,000. Taylor was not asked to enter a plea and left the courthouse after posting bail.

Seeing television cameras outside the courthouse, Taylor said, "I'm not that important" as he walked away.

Taylor, 51, was arrested in a Holiday Inn room a few hours after the alleged rape took place, according to Christopher St. Lawrence, the town supervisor and police commissioner in Ramapo, about 30 miles northwest of New York City.

Police Chief Peter Brower said Taylor was charged with third-degree rape, a felony, for allegedly engaging in sexual intercourse with someone younger than 17. Taylor also was charged with third-degree patronization for allegedly paying the underage victim $300 to have sex, Brower said.

According to Brower, the rape charge carries a possible four-year prison term, and the patronization charge, a misdemeanor, could bring up to a year in prison.

Asked whether Taylor knew that the victim was underage, Brower said "ignorance is not an excuse" for having sex with a minor.

Aidala said after the bail hearing that Taylor "is denying and preparing to fight each and every one of those charges."

Video: Attorney: Taylor 'devastated'
Video: Football legend arrested
Video: Geragos: 'Earmarks of a setup'

Aidala said that "no violence, no force, no threat, no weapons" was involved in the case. He noted that the rape charge against Taylor was for consensual sex with a minor and said Taylor denied it.

St. Lawrence and Brower said the alleged victim, since March a runaway from New York's Bronx borough, was allegedly brought to Ramapo by a pimp on Wednesday night.

When the pimp and the girl returned to New York early Thursday, she texted an uncle who notified the New York police, St. Lawrence said.

New York police arrested the pimp and called Ramapo police, and Taylor was arrested in his hotel room at around 4 a.m., according to St. Lawrence.

The alleged victim had facial injuries that police determined occurred before she entered the Holiday Inn room, St. Lawrence said.

Detective Lt. Brad Weidel said police knocked twice on Taylor's hotel door and identified themselves before entering the room. Weidel and St. Lawrence said Taylor was cooperative with authorities.

Taylor was a 10-time All-Pro linebacker for the New York Giants from 1981 to 1993 after earning All American honors at the University of North Carolina.

A punishing tackler and pass rusher known by his initials "L.T.," he was on two Super Bowl champion teams and was inducted into the National Football League's Hall of Fame, which noted that he "redefined the way the outside linebacker position was played."

However, Taylor was twice suspended by the NFL for substance abuse and battled a cocaine addiction long after retirement, resulting in several arrests and a downward spiral that he chronicled in a 2003 autobiography.

After kicking drugs, he worked as a sports commentator and appeared as a contestant on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" in 2009. Taylor and his dance partner on the program, Edyta Sliwinska, were eliminated in the seventh week of competition.

Brower said that police found a bottle of alcohol in Taylor's hotel room but that Taylor showed no sign of inebriation. Brower said that no drugs were found in the room.

Mark Lepselter, Taylor's agent, said Taylor was very upset about the charges against him.

"He's worked very hard over the last 12 years to change perceptions about him," Lepselter said.

CNN's Ross Levitt and Alan Chernoff contributed to this story.