Football Star Lawrence Taylor Gets Off Again

Never mind that Cristina Fierro was 16 years old. Never mind that she had been beaten by her trafficker, with fresh marks on her face, and was in a state of panic. Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor paid $300 to have sex with the teen in 2010, then twirled the used condom over his head like a lasso.

Fierro’s trafficker got seven years in prison. Taylor got a slap on the wrist: probation in the criminal case against him, and now found not liable in the civil case verdict a month ago. (This was the first civil lawsuit to bring charges against a buyer of commercial sex from a child under the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which defines any minor who is induced into the sex trade as a sex-trafficking victim.)

The jury in the civil case ruled the sex consensual, even though Fierro was a minor and ignorance of age is not a defense against statutory rape in New York. Beyond meeting the conditions for statutory rape, Fierro says she tried to stop Taylor from having sex with her because it hurt. “I kept telling him I didn’t want to be there,” she said. “He’s much bigger than me. I couldn’t do anything.”  According to Taylor, though, Fierro “didn’t seem to have a problem” and “didn’t tell me to stop.”

The experience left Fierro suicidal and in need of medication for anxiety and depression.

The day before the verdict, Taylor commented that he would continue to pay prostitutes for sex. The day of the verdict, Taylor chomped on a victory cigar and engaged in some classic victim blaming with his comment, “I hope she gets her life together.”

Human trafficking expert Dottie Laster wasn’t surprised by the verdict. She noted the contradiction between the jury feeling sorry for the victim, but believing a middle-aged man’s word over the testimony of a crying teen:

We live in a world where a child is blamed for her own commercial rape–where money excuses everything.

Photo of Lawrence Taylor (#56) by Flickr user jacorbett70 under license from Creative Commons 2.0

Comments

  1. Poor choice in title. Please re-think.

  2. You cannot have an acquittal in a CIVIL case. Acquittal is a specifically criminal term. He was found ‘not liable’

    Pet peeve of mine.

  3. Miriam Reed says:

    Lawrence Taylor should be in the Hall of Infamy. His behavior is despicable beyond words.

  4. I’m not entirely sure of what he was charged under, but I remember it was a federal law about human trafficking. I believe it was the Trafficking Victim’s Protection Act. If it was, and I think it was but am not sure, I think the crux of the civil lawsuit was that the jury had to find that Taylor knew she was a victim of sex trafficking, was part of the scheme and engaged in force/coercion to have the victim engage in “commercial sex” (to use the statute’s term). The statute doesn’t allow civil penalties just by proving statutory rape (which we all know is what happened here). I think the federal law was more so directed towards punishing the individuals who were part of the scheme/network of human trafficking, not necessarily the “Johns.” That language of the statute might have been a huge hurdle for the jury to jump and if they believed the sex was consensual (again, this was civil, not criminal case) then they probably didn’t think he used force/was part of trafficking network.

    This does not excuse his criminal actions, but just b/c you break the law doesn’t mean you can be sued under any and all civil remedy statutes.

  5. Lawrence Taylor, whoever his is, should be kicked off his team. Then he’d be laughing out of the other side of his face. Otherwise, he’ll just be another creep protected by the Important Persons Act.

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