Los Angeles Kings Coach Luke Walton Accused of Sex Assault in Lawsuit
LOS ANGELES (AP) — New Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton has been accused of sexual assault in a lawsuit by a former sports reporter.
Kelli Tennant filed the suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday, contending Walton assaulted her in a hotel room in Santa Monica while he was an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors. TMZ first reported the lawsuit.
Walton’s attorney, Mark Baute, called the allegations “baseless.”
“The accuser is an opportunist, not a victim, and her claim is not credible,” Baute said in a statement. “We intend to prove this in a courtroom.”
According to the suit, Tennant had considered Walton to be a friend and mentor, and she was friendly with his wife. Walton also wrote the forward to her book. She says she went to give him a copy while he stayed at the Casa Del Mar Hotel during a Warriors road trip to Los Angeles.
Tennant said Walton met her in the lobby and invited her back to his room. After discussing the book, Tennant said Walton suddenly pinned her to the bed and forcibly kissed and groped her. She said Walton used his full body weight to keep her on the bed and laughed when she yelled “stop!”
Walton was dismissed by the Lakers this month and hired by the Kings. The Kings say they are aware of the report and gathering information. The team had no other comment.
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