Like a tackle from the blind spot, Lawrence Taylor’s arrest for allegedly sleeping with an underage prostitute hit his former Dancing with the Stars cast-mates out of no where.
“It’s shocking right now,” said fellow Season 8 contestant Melissa Rycroft. “I danced with him. He was my buddy.”
“It’s not the LT that I knew,” Rycroft told PEOPLE at the 17th Annual Race to Erase MS gala in Los Angeles on Friday. “The LT that I knew was very sweet and caring and compassionate and he took care of all of us and I never saw a temper. I never saw him mistreating anybody.”
RELATED: Lawrence Taylor Charged with Rape
Rycroft said she would like to see information come out that shows LT did nothing illegal with the 16-year-old girl. “I don’t know how optimistic I am about that, but I can hope.”
Tony Dovolani echoed those comments at the event, calling Taylor, “such a cool guy,” and opted not to make any quick judgments adding, “I don’t know the details, so I can’t make any comments either way. I feel for the both parties because this is not a pleasant situation to be in.”
Taylor was charged with third-degree rape after being arrested in a New York hotel Thursday, where he paid the teenager $300 for sex, according to Ramapo cops, who added that he faces up to five years behind bars if convicted.
“I just think that people should not make judgments until they find out what really, really happens,” said DWTS pro Louis Van Amstel, who was on an earlier season than Taylor. “If he had done what he did, If that’s true, then … but if not, come on. Give him a break.”
Another DWTS alum, Nancy O’Dell, was also at the event and backed-up the other dancers’ sentiments, saying “I think that we need to get all the facts, ’cause everything starts leaking out and people just start discussing it on all the shows and until you actually know all the facts, it’s hard to really do any kind of judging.
“But I’ll tell ya, those Dancing with the Starspeople make news.”
At the Capcom Launch of Lost Planet 2 last night, former contestant and actor Gilles Marini added, “There are things that you just don’t do. Hopefully, he is innocent of all these charges … and that is what we are all hoping for.”