Newly hired Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton is being sued by sports reporter Kelli Tennant, who alleges he sexually assaulted her in his hotel room, per TMZ Sports. Legal documents obtained in the reports say the incident occurred during Walton’s time as an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors.
Tennant—who worked as a reporter for Spectrum SportsNet and SportsNet LA—developed a business relationship with Walton over the years. That relationship led to Walton writing a foreword for Tennant’s book, which was published in 2014. When Tennant was invited to meet Walton at the Casa Del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica, Ca., she intended for it to be strictly business and to discuss the book. It was at that time where Walton allegedly forced himself onto her.
From the TMZ report:
“In the suit, Tennant says when she arrived at Walton’s hotel, he convinced her to come up to his room so they could discuss the book. She claims when they got up to his room, Walton suddenly pinned her to the bed, placing his hips and legs over her body.
In the docs, Tennant claims Walton then began forcing kisses on her neck, face and chest. She claims she screamed for him to stop and tried to free herself, but he held her down, groped her breasts and groin, and rubbed his erection on her leg.”
Tennant was able to escape. In the lawsuit claim, Walton is quoted saying, “Good to see you,” to a disturbing effect. Walton’s behavior towards her would continue. With Tennant unable to do anything about it due to her job, she would “suffer silently” throughout her time working alongside Walton, to which he would force hugs and kisses towards her as he became head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Here’s more from the lawsuit report describing those actions:
“Tennant claims she did not report the attack, but instead, “suffered silently,” while still working in the Los Angeles sports market. After Walton became coach of the Lakers, Tennant says she was in frequent contact with Walton, and he “made implied threats of additional physical assaults,” and would allegedly hug and kiss her.
To make matters worse, Tennant says she later was involved with a charitable organization that put on an event in which Walton was one of the guests of honor. She claims when he saw her the night of the event he, “uttered vulgar, guttural sounds at her in a lewd manner and remarked, ‘Mmmm … you’re killing me in that dress!'”
The Sacramento Kings have released a statement following the report. Sacramento hired Walton shortly after he was fired from the Los Angeles Lakers with a 98-148 coaching record: