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"I thought that he was going to rape me," says woman accusing Luke Walton of sexual assault

The woman who accused new Sacramento Kings owner Luke Walton of sexually assaulting her spoke publicly Tuesday, alleging he assaulted her in a hotel room in 2014. "Out of nowhere he got on top of me and pinned me down to the bed and held my arms down with all of his weight while he kissed my neck and my face and my chest," said former sports journalist Kelli Tennant.

Tennant filed a lawsuit Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Walton. He has denied the allegations.

Tennant said in the lawsuit that she considered Walton to be a friend and mentor, and he had written the forward to her book. She said she wanted Walton to have a copy of her book.

She said Walton laughed at her when she kept asking him to get off her, and she said she continued to ask him to stop while he was holding her down, CBS Los Angeles reports. 

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Utah Jazz
Mar 27, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton watches the action against the Utah Jazz in the first half at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports Jeffrey Swinger

"I thought that he was going to rape me," said Tennant.

Tennant said she was finally able to get out of the room. She said didn't come forward right away because she feared her career would be over.

Tennant said she confided with people at the time but never filed charges. She alleged Walton continued to harass her after he became coach of the Lakers and she was working as a broadcaster in Los Angeles for Spectrum SportsNet and SportsNet LA. She now does a wellness podcast.

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."

The Warriors and Lakers said they both first heard of the allegations when TMZ reported the lawsuit on Monday night and had no further comment. Walton was an assistant with Golden State Warriors from 2014-16 before being hired as Lakers head coach. Walton was dismissed by the Lakers earlier this month after a disappointing season, but was hired just a few days later by the Kings, CBS Sports reported.

Walton was officially introduced as their new head coach just last week. The Kings said they are aware of the report and gathering additional information but had no other comment.

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