NBA Coach Luke Walton Sued for Sexual Assault - NBC4 Washington
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NBA Coach Luke Walton Sued for Sexual Assault



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    In this March 31, 2019, file photo, former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton looks on during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans.

    A female sports reporter has accused new Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton of sexual assault in a lawsuit.

    Kelli Tennant filed the suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday alleging that Walton assaulted her in a hotel room in Santa Monica during his time as an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors.

    Tennant claims she went to Walton's hotel room to discuss a book she was writing when Walton pinned her to the bed, forcibly kissed her and groped her.

    The alleged incident happened before Walton became coach of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2016 and while Tennant worked for Sportsnet LA, the Lakers television rights holder.

    Tennant did not initially report the alleged assault, and shortly thereafter had to interact with Walton on a constant basis after he was hired by the Lakers in April of 2016. 

    Tennant said that Walton would often greet her with an aggressive hug or kiss and make inappropriate comments, despite her telling him his advances were unwanted.

    Tennant abruptly left Spectrum SportsNet LA in 2017, and now works for Amazon Prime covering the Association of Volleyball Professionals tour. She also hosts a podcast called "Ceremony Wellness" that focuses on women's health issues.

    No date was given for the alleged assault.

    The Los Angeles Times reported that Tennant's lawyer declined to say whether she reported the alleged assault to police.

    Walton was let go by the Lakers earlier this month and hired by the Kings 24 hours later. 

    The Lakers say they were never told of the allegations when Walton was their coach and have no additional comment because he now works for another team.

    "This alleged incident took place before Luke Walton was the Head Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers," the Lakers said in a statement. "At no time before or during his employment here was this allegation reported to the Lakers. 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."

    The Kings and the Golden State Warriors said they were aware of the report and are seeking additional information. Both teams had no other comment.

    Walton has not issued a statement or response.

    Tennant's attorney Garo Mardirossian said he's planning a news conference Tuesday with his client at his law office.

    Mardirossian said his office submitted the lawsuit around 4:45 p.m. Monday by email. He said he did not believe a court case number had been assigned but that he should have one before the news conference. It's unclear if the lawsuit has been served to Walton.