Luke Walton was accused of sexual assault in a lawsuit that was filed on Monday, but the allegation against the coach never made its way to law enforcement.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Santa Monica police say they never received a report accusing Walton of wrongdoing, nor are they investigating the alleged crime.
In the lawsuit, Walton, recently hired as the head coach of the Sacramento Kings, is accused of assaulting former Spectrum SportsNet host Kelli Tennant at a hotel during his time as an assistant for the Golden State Warriors.
According to RAINN, only 230 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to police.
Per the Times, the lawsuit does not provide a date for the alleged assault, but says the incident occurred after a book written by Tennant was published in 2014. Walton, who the lawsuit says was a “mentor” to Tennant, wrote the foreword for her book.
The suit says Tennant was “afraid” Walton was going to rape her.
Walton was a mentor to Tennant, a former USC volleyball player, and she had known his wife for years because both were competitive volleyball players in college, the lawsuit says. She drove to the hotel to give him a copy of the book. He invited her to his room so as not to be in the public eye, according to court documents.
The lawsuit, which was examined by the Los Angeles Times, alleges that Walton suddenly “pinned Ms. Tennant on the bed, placing his hips and legs over her body.” He then “began forcing kisses on her neck, face and chest.” The suit said she yelled for him to stop and tried to free herself as Walton groped her breasts and groin area. Eventually, the suit said, Walton relented.
Mark Baute, Walton’s attorney, said in a statement that Tennant’s claim is “not credible.”
“The accuser is an opportunist, not a victim, and her claim is not credible. We intend to prove this in a courtroom,” Baute said.
Walton recently finished his third season as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. He and the Lakers parted ways April 12 and Walton was announced as the head coach of the Kings two days later.
NBA releases statement
In a statement released Tuesday, NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass said the league is “coordinating with the Kings organization” and is “in the process of gathering more information.”
Both the Lakers and Warriors said Monday that the alleged incident was never reported to them.
“This alleged incident took place before Luke Walton was the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. At no time before or during his employment here was this allegation reported to the Lakers,” the Lakers’ statement said. “If it had been, we would have immediately commenced an investigation and notified the NBA. Since Luke Walton is now under contract to another team, we will have no further comment.”
Walton, after 11 years as an NBA player, rose to coaching prominence when he filled in for Steve Kerr as the interim coach of the Warriors during the 2015-16 season. He spent two seasons as an assistant with the team.
Like the Lakers, the Warriors said they were unaware of the alleged incident.
"We became aware of the alleged incident and story this evening and are in the process of seeking more information. We’ll have no further comment at this time,” the team said.
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