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Lawrence Taylor's accuser sues, alleges assault

By Jason Kessler, CNN
updated 7:14 PM EST, Mon November 28, 2011
Attorney Gloria Allred, left, embraces victim Christina Fierro after Lawrence Taylor's sentencing in March.
Attorney Gloria Allred, left, embraces victim Christina Fierro after Lawrence Taylor's sentencing in March.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Cristina Fierro was 16 when the former NFL star was accused of sexual misconduct
  • Now 18, she went public with her story earlier this year
  • She's now accusing Taylor of assault and battery, seeking damages
  • Taylor's lawyer blames new legal action on lawyer's "intoxication with media coverage"

(CNN) -- Former NFL star Lawrence Taylor, who pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct with a teenager last year, was sued by the victim in federal court in New York on Monday.

The lawsuit "may be the first civil lawsuit of its kind on behalf of a child victim of sex trafficking against a buyer of a commercial sex act with that child," the victim's attorney, Gloria Allred, said at a news conference.

"I feel as though [Taylor] should be accountable for his crimes and misconduct toward me" said Cristina Fierro, who was 16 when the episode occurred and who went unnamed during the criminal phase of Taylor's case. Now 18, she went public with her story earlier this year.

In addition to seeking damages from Taylor, Fierro alleges in the lawsuit that Taylor assaulted and battered her. Allred did not offer details about the alleged assault, saying those would be revealed in the discovery phase of the lawsuit.

Taylor was arrested at a Holiday Inn in New York in May 2010 after having "improper sexual conduct involving an underage girl in a Rockland County hotel," the district attorney's office said at the time. Prosecutors said Taylor paid Fierro, who has repeatedly denied allegations that she was a prostitute, $300 for "sexual acts."

The former Giants linebacker pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges stemming from the incident, one count of sexual misconduct and one count of patronizing a prostitute in the third degree.

Taylor, who has said he was unaware that Fierro was underage when he had sex with her, was sentenced to six years' probation in March and assessed a $2,000 fine. A month later, a judge designated him a Level 1 sex offender, a low-level classification.

In a statement, Taylor's lawyer chalked up the new lawsuit to a hunger for publicity.

"It's a shame that, once again, Gloria Allred's intoxication with media coverage for her cases has blurred her vision to uphold the highest level of ethical and moral standards to which attorneys are supposed to adhere," Arthur Aidala said.

At the news conference Monday, Fierro said she was dissatisfied with the plea deal Taylor struck with prosecutors last spring.

"I feel as though he should have gone to jail to think about what he has done to me," she said.

The lawsuit seeks "compensatory and punitive damages" from Taylor, Allred said, but she declined to specify a dollar amount. A note in the lawsuit states that "the matter in controversy exceeds the sum of $75,000."

The suit does not seek damages from Rasheed Davis, who arranged the liaison between Taylor and Fierro and gave her a black eye when she initially refused to go along with it. In August, a federal judge sentenced Davis to seven years in prison for sex trafficking.

When asked whether Fierro is suing Taylor rather than Davis because Taylor is a multimillionaire, Allred said the suit was filed against only Taylor "because this is the person we have decided to sue, the buyer."

Fierro's attorneys brought the suit under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, or TVPA, which historically has been used to target pimps rather than johns, Allred said.

Suing johns under the TVPA is highly unusual, but suing pimps under the law is uncommon as well, according to Bridgette Carr, the director of the Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School.

Going after Taylor in the lawsuit might deter would-be buyers of sex from minors from going through with the act, according to Allred.

"Suing the buyer can have an impact on the demand for commercial sex of children," Allred said.

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