NBA

Assault case vs. Celtics' Sullinger proceeds

09/24 10:02 AM

Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger appeared in Waltham District Court on Monday for a pretrial hearing and is due back for a second pretrial session on Oct. 28, according to media reports.

Prosecutors say they intend to pursue domestic assault charges against Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger even though his accuser wants to drop the case.

The 21-year-old Sullinger appeared in Waltham District Court on Monday to face charges of assault and battery, destruction of property and witness intimidation in connection with an Aug. 31 confrontation with his girlfriend. The woman accused Sullinger of pinning her to a bed and the floor at his Waltham home. He is scheduled to return for a second pretrial session on Oct. 28.

On Sept. 3, Sullinger pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and battery, malicious destruction of property and witness intimidation and was released on $5,000 bail.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge chose his words carefully while addressing the situation Tuesday.

"Jared will be in training camp, he's in our facility working out every day," Ainge said. "I think he's taking care of everything in the exact right way that he should. I think Jared is a good kid. And he's a good Celtic. And he's a guy that we have big hopes for. We don't think he's done anything so wrong that he shouldn't be part of our team today."

Ainge was mum on potential punishment, preferring to wait until the judicial process plays out. Ainge said he didn't think the situation would be a distraction for Sullinger entering the 2013-14 season.

"I don't think it would be a distraction for Jared now, just because he knows the story. He knows, and someday you guys will," Ainge said. "But just because of the legal proceedings, it can't be publicized and he can't talk about it. I think he's comfortable with where he is and what he needs to work on, and who he needs to apologize to."

According to reports, Sullinger's lawyer Charles Rankin noted that Sullinger has abided by the court's initial ruling that he has contact with his girlfriend only with a third party present. His girlfriend's lawyer has filed an affidavit with the court stating that her client "did not want to pursue the case and is not fearful of Mr. Sullinger."

A spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney's office said prosecutors "believe we have evidence to support the charges."

Asked about his client, Rankin told reporters at the courthouse, "He's doing fine. He's embarrassed but doing fine, and hoping it comes to an end soon," according to MassLive.com.

Sullinger is due back in court two days before the start of the regular season. The Celtics visit the Toronto Raptors on Oct. 30.

After his arrest, Sullinger released a statement through the Celtics in which he apologized and called the experience "humbling and embarrassing."

"I know that this situation has brought both sorrow and embarrassment to my girlfriend, my family, the Boston Celtics organization, my teammates and my fans," he said. "To all of you, I apologize from the bottom of my heart."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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