BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges he attacked his girlfriend last weekend.
Sullinger, 21, posted $5,000 bail after his arraignment in Waltham District Court.
Prosecutors say he and his girlfriend had an argument Saturday morning at their Waltham home after she found evidence on his cell phone that he was cheating on her.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens reports
Jared Sullinger Arrested
According to investigators, the woman started packing her bags when Sullinger, who's 6-feet-9 inches tall, pushed his girlfriend onto a bed, pinned her, then tossed her onto the ground. He then allegedly shoved her again and smashed her cell phone.
Sullinger then left for a previously scheduled flight to Ohio, where he spent the weekend at his parents' home. Once it was clear he was out of town, his girlfriend called police. An officer contacted Sullinger in Ohio and informed him about the warrant issued for his arrest.
Sullinger turned himself into Waltham police at 6 a.m. Tuesday. He's charged with assault and battery, malicious destruction of property and intimidation of a witness.
He has been ordered to stay away from the alleged victim, who he has been dating for about two-and-a-half years since they met in college. However, he is allowed to call her or see her with a third person. The victim did not request a restraining order and, according to Sullinger's attorneys, the couple is trying to reconcile.
The team released this statement from Sullinger Tuesday afternoon:
"I voluntarily reported to the Waltham police this morning to respond to charges against me. The experience was humbling and embarrassing for me. Yet I know that this situation has brought both sorrow and embarrassment to my girlfriend, my family, the Boston Celtics organization, my teammates, and my fans. To all of you, I apologize from the bottom of my heart."
"My lawyers have advised me not to discuss the case at this time. But I wanted to immediately and publicly apologize to everyone affected by this situation."
Sullinger is going into his second year with the team. He averaged 6 points and nearly 6 rebounds per game last year as a rookie, but his season was cut short by back surgery after just 45 games.
The Celtics released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
"The Celtics were disappointed to learn of the allegations against Jared and are currently gathering more information on the situation, which we are taking very seriously. We will reserve further comment until such point that we have sufficient additional information."
Sullinger was a first round draft pick out of Ohio State in 2012.
He is represented by Charlie Rankin and Jamie Sultan, the same defense team as Aaron Hernandez.
Annie Lewis-O'Connor is a Nurse Practitioner at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. She's also the Founder and Director of the Women's CARE (Coordinated Approach to Recovery and Empowerment) Clinic there. She says the people are slowly coming around to the idea that they can intervene in a loved one's relationship if they feel like someone is in trouble.
"I think we used to think it was a personal matter," Lewis-O'Connor says, "but now it's a crime."
"If a man walked up to a woman on the street and punched her in the face, a stranger, he'd be arrested. Why is it different when someone is in an intimate relationship?"
Of Sullinger's public statement Tuesday, she says "I think he's embarrassed. He is a public figure and this is probably not where he wanted to be today. But it's also not where she wanted to be."
Lewis-O'Connor says it is also important for women in Massachusetts to know that they have tremendous resources available to them if they find themselves in a dangerous domestic situation. One option, she says, is the state's free hotline for domestic violence victims, which is available 24/7. The toll-free number is 1-877-785-2020.
WBZ-TV's Jim Armstrong contributed to this report.
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