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NBA Star Dwight Howard Denies Allegations He Sexually Assaulted a Man

NBA Star Dwight Howard Denies Allegations He Sexually Assaulted a Man

NBA Star Dwight Howard Denies Allegations He Sexually Assaulted a Man
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Howard said in court documents that he had "consensual sexual activity" with another man, but claims there was no assault.

Former NBA star Dwight Howard, accused of sexually assaulting another man, says in court documents that he and the man had consensual sex, but there was no assault.

Stephen Harper has filed a civil suit claiming that Howard and a cross-dressing man identified only as “Kitty” forced him to have sex at Howard’s home in the Atlanta suburbs in July 2021. Harper reported the matter to police a year later, but no charges were filed, the Associated Press reports. Harper filed the civil suit in July of this year in a state-level court in Georgia, accusing Howard of sexual assault and battery, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Harper’s suit says he and Howard began corresponding through direct messages on Instagram in 2021, and they arranged to meet for a sexual encounter at Howard’s home July 19 of that year. Howard asked if another man or a woman could join them for sex, and Harper nixed that. However, they were joined by someone the AP describes as “a man dressed as a woman,” Harper claims in the suit, and that man and Howard forced him into sex.

“Mr. Harper was trapped in Defendant’s bedroom and believed that he would suffer imminent bodily harm if he resisted Defendant’s sexual advances,” the lawsuit says. After the sexual act, “Mr. Harper felt extremely violated and humiliated, and was in complete shock,” according to the suit.

In court documents filed this week, Howard said the encounter consisted of “consensual sexual activity” and that he caused no injury to Harper. He asked for the suit to be dismissed and for Harper to be ordered to pay court costs and attorneys’ fees.

“What was a private consensual encounter was made public for profit, and Mr. Howard looks forward to bringing the truth to light in a court of law,” Justin Bailey, one of Howard’s attorneys, told ESPN. “The allegations against Mr. Howard are contested. Mr. Howard intends to present the truth. The truth is Mr. Howard blocked Mr. Harper on social media and then was confronted with two options — pay to protect his reputation or have a fabricated story made public. Despite being an easy target due to the subject matter and his status as a celebrity, Mr. Howard chose to trust in the justice system and will rely on all future court filings to speak for themselves.”

However, Harper’s attorney, Olga Izmaylova, told ESPN, “We fully anticipated Mr. Howard to raise the issue of consent in his answer.” She said Harper did not consent.

Howard played in the NBA from 2004 to 2022, mostly as a center. He played for the Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, and others. After leaving the NBA, he joined the Taoyuan Leopards, a professional basketball team in Taiwan.

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