Last Friday, Lawrence Taylor emerged from the courthouse with a grin on his face and an El Titan De Bronze Redemption cigar in his mouth. The jury took only fifty minutes to dismiss the lawsuit against him, reports the New York Daily News. The plaintiff Christine Fierro, who was just 16-years-old when Taylor paid to have sex with her, was seeking damages for battery and gender-motivated violence.
The criminal case against Taylor was resolved earlier with a relative slap on the wrist. For patronizing a prostitute and having sex with a minor, he received only six years of probation and the lowest possible sex offender classification. Reasonable minds could certainly dispute whether that sentence was appropriate, as he testified that she told him that she was nineteen and the sex was reportedly consensual.
But there's a difference between consensual and legally consensual however, which is why the jury may have made a mistake in their quick dismissal.
Battery is defined as intentional harmful or offensive touching, without consent. By law, the age of consent in New York is seventeen. It is set at this age because public policy dictates that minors are not mature enough to consent to sexual intercourse and because it is generally believed that such activity with an adult will harm the child in the long-term.
By law, an adult of Taylor's age having sex with a minor is illegal, presumptively harmful, and nonconsensual.
There was also testimony that indicated that Fierro was forced into having sex with Taylor by her pimp, and that she showed up to his room with a swollen eye.
The jury didn't buy it. One juror told the Daily News that though they "felt terrible for her," they felt that the sex was consensual and that she was victimized by her pimp, not Taylor. Taylor's attorney emphasized that "there are 16-year-olds, and there are 16-year-olds," and that Fierro had dropped out of school at age 14, worked as a pole dancer, and constantly carried a bottle of Hennessey in her purse.
- Consult a New York Personal Injury Attorney (FindLaw)
- Statutory Rape (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- Another Day, Another Student Teacher Tryst (FindLaw's New York Criminal Law Blog)
- Ex-NY Giant Lawrence Taylor wins case brought by teen who had sex with him in hotel for $300 (Associated Press)