SACRAMENTO — The Sacramento Kings’ new head coach, Luke Walton, has been accused of sexually assaulting a former Los Angeles sports reporter.
Kelli Tennant, who has worked as a broadcaster for SportsNet LA, filed a lawsuit against Walton accusing him of forcing himself on her in a hotel room.
According to legal documents obtained by FOX40, the assault happened at a Santa Monica hotel while Walton was coaching for the Golden State Warriors. Tennant claims she had gone to the hotel to give Walton a copy of her book, “The Transition: Every Athlete’s Guide to Life After Sports.” Walton had helped her write the book’s foreword.
Tennant claims Walton pinned her to the bed in the hotel room then forcibly kissed and groped her repeatedly.
At the time, the documents claim Tennant saw Walton as a “trusted colleague, mentor and even friend” and was well acquainted with his wife through the competitive volleyball circuit.
The documents also cite other incidents following the alleged assault in which Tennant claims Walton made inappropriate and unwelcome remarks and physical advances.
Tennant held a press conference along with her attorney Tuesday after they say the complaint was leaked.
She told reporters Walton laughed at her when she begged him to stop during the alleged assault. She claimed she thought he was going to rape her.
Tennant said the alleged assault occurred in 2014 when she was 25 years old and she had waited to go public with her allegations because she was frightened.
Wednesday, Walton’s attorney sent FOX40 the following statement regarding Tennant’s allegations:
These claims are false and Luke’s innocence will be proven in court. Yesterday’s press conference was a poorly staged attempt to portray the accuser as a viable spokesperson for an important movement. Her lawyers want to create a public circus to distract from their complete lack of evidence to support their outrageous claims. We will not try this case in the media or pay them a dime.
Earlier this month, Walton was named head coach of the Sacramento Kings. A statement sent Monday by the Kings said, “We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time.”
A Care2 petition is now calling on Sacramento Kings General Manager Vlade Divac to fire Walton. By Tuesday, it had already been signed by more than 1,000 supporters.