NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Former pro football star Lawrence Taylor, who pleaded guilty in January to sexual misconduct and patronizing a 16-year-old prostitute, was declared a low-risk sex offender on Tuesday, meaning there will be no photo of the former Giants linebacker on public online sex-offender registries.

Rockland County Court Judge William Kelly said Taylor was not targeting children and was unlikely to commit the same crime.

“He would be awfully foolish to go out and do this again,” the judge said. As to a posted photo, he said, “I don’t see how that’s going to make the public any safer.”

Taylor has said the girl told him she was 19. The former NFL standout, who lives in Florida, did not attend the hearing.

Kelly designated Taylor a Level 1, or low-risk, sex offender. Rockland County prosecutor Patricia Gunning had argued for a Level 2 label. Using established guidelines, she said Taylor scored 80 points on a scale that says a sex offender has to be below 75 to get a Level 1 designation.

Twenty of the points were based on the girl’s age. But defense attorney Arthur Aidala said Taylor “wasn’t targeting a young child. He was trying to get some female companionship for that night.”

He also said it was irrelevant to count Taylor’s conviction in a tax-return case against him in a sex-crime case. And he argued that because of Taylor’s fame, “Putting his picture on the Internet damages him so much more than the average person.”

Kelly disagreed, saying, “My God, there’s been so much publicity already” that a posted photo wouldn’t matter much.

In the end, the judge took 20 points off Taylor’s score. But he laughed at some of Aidala’s arguments. When Aidala said Taylor was a victim of a scheme to defraud him, the judge said, “I’m trying to keep a straight face.” And when the lawyer talked about how Taylor helped the girl by giving her $300, the judge said, “This was a philanthropic endeavor?”

Taylor was sentenced last month to six years’ probation.

The teenager made a surprise appearance at the sentencing hearing, eager to declare that he should be behind bars, but she wasn’t allowed to speak in court. Speaking outside, she denied she was a prostitute, and said Taylor should have been able to tell she had been beaten by a pimp and that she was underage when they met in a hotel room in May.

Aidala said Taylor would be relieved to hear, “He’s not going to be plastered all over the Internet.”

“This chapter of Mr. Taylor’s life is closed,” he added.

In New York, Level 1 offenders aren’t posted on a public website, but anyone who calls the state Criminal Justice Services Division can find out if a person is a sex offender. Aidala said the system was similar in Florida, where Taylor will be supervised.

Taylor was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999. He redefined the linebacker position and was selected to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.

In 2009, he competed in ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

Does the punishment fit the crime? Let us know in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (11)
  1. michellefrommadison says:

    Good for Lawrence Taylor. I think the judge gave him the lenient sentence as a lesson to be learned by the media not to over dramatize court cases like they continue to do. L.T. wins. Maybe the media-heads should talk about their own misconduct instead of looking for a story in the Taylor case. Maybe the tragic death of a victim by a crime committed by Nancy Grace of CNN may hold more people’s attention, especially how Nancy denied she had anything to do with the death she caused, then she paid off the family a couple hundred thousand dollars. L.T. just paid for a prostitute, he didn’t help to end anyone’s life.

  2. Moral Truth says:

    Hopefully Mr. Taylor will change his ways in life now and put this behind him. It is ridiculous that the courts are allowing this girl to file a lawsuit as she was working as a prostitute.

    That is a criminal offense and she should be charged ants the moral truth

  3. Tough says:

    Patricia Gunning should be working at a Walmart store changing the price tags on the murchandise. She sounds like a real whack job and probuably a man hater. Looks like her chance of progessing her career off the coat-tails of taylor have been derailed by a common sense judge who made the right decision.

  4. Johnny V says:

    Taylor is using up his legal nine lives. What gets me angry is how come he got such special treatment? The guy gets arrested every other year and has quite a record. He should have at least got a few years of probation. When we treat certain members of society unequally it is another blemish on “justice for all”. All people should serve their rightful sentence and understand their actions have consequences that go beyond a selfish moment but stretches out into soceity on a whole.

    That is why I say its unfair to all of us when someone gets lenency because they hold “fame points”. Its a slap in the face to all of us and especially those who are already serving legitimate penalties for the crimes they did. Judges who pander to such ethics deserve to go jail themselves for being corrupt.

  5. michellefrommadison says:

    Was the 16 year old charged with prostituting herself?

  6. Jen says:

    Taylor was a desperate idiot. He should’ve been smart enough to run the other way. It is the girl who should be in juvie right now. Lets not forget who the criminal is here.

    1. michellefrommadison says:

      The girl is the only criminal in this case.

  7. Roy says:

    I guess he won’t be on the Wheaties Box this year.

  8. nathan says:

    Today is actually the 30th anniv of the Giants drafting him. An absolute train wreck of a person but the greatest defensive player in the history of the NFL.

    1. rabbit says:

      lt was a cocaine user his entire career! how good would he have been without drugs? And he is a sex offender. they probably brought the judge.

  9. Mr Sam says:

    Let’s hope this smartens up a bunch of players. They are targets and they can’t let up. They are viewed as easy money. I can’t wait for the civil suit. I wonder if the pimp will be party to it.

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