Taylor was charged with third-degree rape -- essentially New York's statutory rape charge -- and with patronizing a prostitute under the age of 17. The rape charge, a felony, could carry a sentence of up to four years.
"We have a victim who is 16 years old who has alleged that they had sex," Ramapo (N.Y.) police supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence told The New York Times. "She is not allowed under New York laws to have consensual sex. She is traumatized. She's a very young girl."
Ramapo police chief Peter Brower said at a Thursday afternoon press conference that Taylor paid the girl $300. He did not know if Taylor was aware of the girl's age, but said, "Ignorance is not an excuse ..."
In addition to Taylor, police also apprehended a man named Rasheed Davis, 36, on charges of unlawful imprisonment, assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
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Police said the girl had been staying with Davis in the Bronx for a few weeks. He beat her up, drove her to the Holiday Inn and told her she had to have sex with Taylor, police said. When she refused, Davis handed her over to Taylor, who sexually assaulted her, they said. Taylor paid her $300, which she gave to Davis, police said. The New York Post reported that Davis was released from prison in March 2008 after serving 15 years of an eight-to-25-year sentence for manslaughter.
"We're confident [Taylor's] innocence will be proven," Taylor's original attorney, Kenneth Gribetz, said. FanHouse has learned that Taylor changed attorneys later Thursday and will be represented by a Brooklyn-based firm.
Taylor, 51, played 13 NFL seasons, all for the Giants, from 1981 to 1993. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
A 10-time Pro Bowler, he was the NFL Most Valuable Player in 1986 and the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1981, 1982 and 1986. He recorded 132 1/2 sacks, which doesn't included the 9 1/2 sacks in 1981 when the statistic wasn't official.
In 2001, Taylor was convicted of possessing drug paraphernalia in New Jersey. The conviction stemmed from the September 1998 discovery in a hotel room of a butane torch and other materials commonly used to smoke crack.
In 1996 and 1997, he was arrested in South Carolina and Florida on drug charges. In those cases, he either admitted his guilt or agreed to enter a pretrial intervention program.
In 2000, he drew five years of federal probation for filing false tax returns and for tax evasion.
- Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.