SACRAMENTO, Calif — The Sacramento Kings announced Thursday that it will launch a joint investigation with the NBA about new head coach Luke Walton's alleged sexual assault of a sports reporter.

The civil suit filed earlier this week, and subsequent press conference by Kelli Tennant detail allegations that Walton in 2014 forcibly kissed and groped her while pinning her down in a Santa Monica hotel room when he was an assistant coach with for the Golden State Warriors. 

Tennant said during a press conference that she did not file charges at the time because she was afraid. 


"When someone assaults you and you think you're going to be raped, coming forward is a scary thing," Tennant said during the press conference. "I have spent years now dealing with this, trying to forget about it, and hoping I can push it inside. And that was not the case."

Walton's attorney Mark Baute called the allegations "baseless" and said the press conference was a "poorly staged attempt to portray the accuser as a viable spokesperson for an important movement."

The Kings have been relatively quiet since TMZ broke the news early this week, only releasing a statement that they hadn't known about the allegations before hiring Walton April 15. Officials from the Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers, who Walton previously coached for three years, echo the Kings' statement.

The Kings' investigation team will be led by local attorneys Sue Ann Van Dermyden and Jennifer Doughty, both from the Sacramento law firm Van Dermyden Maddux. 

The NBA's investigation team will be led by Elizabeth Maringer, the league's assistant general counsel. 

"The Kings and the NBA take these allegations very seriously and will collaborate to conduct a complete and thorough investigation," the Kings said in a press release.

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