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Kings Coach Luke Walton Sued For Sexual Assault By Kelli Tennant

SACRAMENTO (CBS13/AP/CNN) — The new Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton is being sued by a woman for sexual assault, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

According to the suit, Kelli Tennant went to Walton's hotel in Santa Monica, and he convinced her to come to his room so they could discuss a book he was writing. She reportedly claims when she got to his room, he pinned her to the bed and forced kisses on her neck, face, and chest.

Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 18: Head Coach Luke Walton of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on against the Brooklyn Nets during their game at the Barclays Center on December 18, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The suit also said she claims she screamed for him to stop and tried to free herself and eventually let her go.

Tennant says in the suit that Walton continued to make unwanted advances toward her following the alleged incident. Because of her job, Tennant continued to have regular contact with Walton. "In these instances, Defendant Walton made implied threats of additional physical assaults and other harm by his continued conduct," the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit says Walton would place his hands on Tennant in ways that made her feel uncomfortable. Walton also would hug Tennant and give her a kiss instead of shaking hands when they saw each other.

The alleged incident happened before Walton became coach of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2016 and while Tennant worked for Sportsnet LA. No date was given for the alleged assault. The Los Angeles Times reports that Tennant's lawyer declined to say whether she reported the alleged assault to police.

Walton's attorney Mark Baute called the allegations "baseless."

"The accuser is an opportunist, not a victim, and her claim is not credible. We intend to prove this in a courtroom," Baute said in a statement to CNN Sports.

The Sacramento Kings released an official statement Monday saying, "We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time."

The Warriors said the team was "in the process of seeking more information" and had no further comment. Walton was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors from 2014 to 2016.

The Los Angeles Lakers, where Walton coached for three years before going to the Kings earlier this month, also released a statement.

"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 team 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."


(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press and CNN The-CNN-Wire™ contributed to this report.)

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