SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Former sports reporter Kelli Tennant shared her story Tuesday after filing a lawsuit, claiming she was sexually assaulted by new Kings coach Luke Walton.
Walton denies the accusations. The Kings have now found themselves in a tough position with their new hire. Just last week the Kings were celebrating Walton’s arrival, and now they are turning to crisis management.
“I’m grateful for everyone being here today, to hear me tell my story,” accuser Kelli Tennant said at a press conference Tuesday.
Tennant told her story about a 2014 alleged sexual assault in a hotel room with vivid description Tuesday.
“He got on top of me and pinned me down to the bed,” Tennant said, “with all of his weight, while he kissed my neck, and my face, my chest.”
She paused at times to collect herself while delivering the allegations.
“I thought he was going to rape me,” Tennant said.
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She said Walton eventually let her go and leave the room.
Walton’s attorney issued a statement before Tennant spoke Tuesday afternoon reading, “Luke Walton retained me to defend him against these baseless allegations. The accuser is an opportunist, not a victim, and her claim is not credible. We intend to prove this is a courtroom.”
The allegations come just days after Walton’s hiring as the Kings new coach, his arrival adorning the Golden 1 Center’s walls. Sacramento Crisis communications expert Scott Rose, a principal at RSE, says the Kings must quickly show fans the new era under Walton, a will start with a thorough investigation.
In the first 24 hours, the Kings released a single statement, saying they are gathering additional information.
“What I would foresee coming up soon is, what they’re going to be doing? How they’re going to be investigating, what’s the status of the coach at this point in time?” Rose said.
Tennant did not file a police report in this case. Reporters asked the attorney about that, and he said he did not intend to seek criminal charges, although he had not closed the door on the idea.