September 3, 2013

Celtics' Sullinger enters plea of not guilty

Jared Sullinger of the Boston Celtics apologizes while facing domestic violence-related charges.

The Associated Press

WALTHAM, Mass. — Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger pleaded not guilty Tuesday to domestic violence-related charges after allegedly repeatedly pinning his girlfriend to a bed and the floor.

click image to enlarge

In this February 2013 file photo, Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger speaks to reporters about his season-ending back surgery. Sullinger, 21, has been accused of assault in a domestic-violence incident involving his girlfriend.

AP Photo

Bail for Sullinger, 21, was set at $5,000 after his plea on charges including assault and battery and intimidation of a witness.

Later Tuesday, 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."

Police say officers were called to Sullinger's residence Saturday evening by his girlfriend, Deann Smith. She told them that earlier that day he'd assaulted her after she accused him of cheating on her and began packing.

"During this heated argument in the bedroom, Jared pushed her down onto the bed and got on top of her," Waltham police wrote in a report. "Deann states she tried several times to get up, but he kept pinning her down and would not let her up."

The report said Sullinger later threw Smith to the floor and wouldn't let her up.

Smith told police that Sullinger grabbed her phone after she threatened to call police and then left because he was scheduled to fly to Ohio. She told police she called them only after she knew Sullinger was out of state.

Police said Smith still had red marks visible on her chest when she spoke to them.

Police issued a warrant for Sullinger's arrest and he turned himself in at about 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Sullinger's attorney, Charles Rankin, said in court that Sullinger and Smith were "long-time sweethearts" who met at Ohio State University. He told the judge that Smith waited 10 hours before calling Waltham police for help.

Sullinger averaged six points and almost six rebounds per game in 45 games as a rookie last season.

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