Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton sued for sexual assault by female sports reporter
Kelli Tennant, the victim, alleges in a lawsuit that the coach assaulted her inside the Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica while he was working with the Golden State Warriors.
Luke Walton, the new head coach of Sacramento Kings, who was released earlier this month from his job as the Lakers coach, has been accused of sexual assault by a former host on Spectrum’s SportsNet. She claims he forced himself on her in his hotel room, as per reports on Monday.
As per TMZ, Kelli Tennant, the victim, alleges in a new lawsuit that Walton assaulted her inside the Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica while he was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors, a position he served till 2016. Walton was an assistant with Golden State from 2014-16 before taking on the position as Lakers head coach. He also played for the Lakers from 2003 to 2012. Walton was dismissed by the Lakers earlier this month and hired by the Kings 24 hours later.
As per the legal documents obtained by the media outlet, Walton asked her to come and meet him at the Casa Del Mar Hotel to drop off a book she had published. The lawsuit further claimed that Tennant and Walton had a business relationship that went back several years, prompting her to ask him about writing the foreword in her book.
According to Tennant, when she arrived at Walton's hotel, the former head coach convinced her to come up to his room so they could "catch up." Upon arriving in the room, Walton allegedly pinned her to the bed, placing his hips and legs over her body as he began forcing kisses on her neck, face, and chest.
Tennant claims she screamed for him to stop, all the while trying to free herself from his clutches, but he held her down, groped her breasts and groin, and rubbed his erection on her leg. The suit further states that the victim was "in shock and fear. She was afraid she was about to be raped."
The lawsuit further states that Walton eventually relented and let her get up from the bed, but while she was walking toward the door to leave, he grabbed her from behind and again forced his body up against hers. When he finally released her and walked out of the room, Walton allegedly pretended as if nothing untoward had happened. "He smiled, laughed again and made the disturbing statement, 'Good to see you,'" Tennant claims in her suit.
However, it is still unclear, based on the documents, what finally prompted Tennant to come forward with her allegations as no date has been given to the alleged assault. The Sacramento Kings did not give out a full statement based on the allegations, but told TMZ, "We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time."
NBC reports that Tennant had not reported the alleged assault and even had interacted with Walton on a constant basis after he was hired by the Lakers in April of 2016. She mentioned that Walton would often greet her with an aggressive hug or kiss and make inappropriate comments, despite her telling him his advances were unwanted.
The NBA coach's lawyer Mark Baute, however, issued a fiery statement slamming Tennant's allegations. "Luke Walton retained me to defend him against these baseless allegations," Baute said. "The accuser is an opportunist, not a victim, & her claim is not credible. We intend to prove this in a courtroom."