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Woman accuses Hornets owner of kidnapping, sexual assault

September 16, 1997

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ A 28-year-old woman has accused Charlotte Hornets owner George Shinn of kidnapping and sexually assaulting her in his home, according to a search warrant released Tuesday.

Shinn has not been charged. Police searched Shinn’s lakefront home last week, the search warrant says.

William Diehl, Shinn’s lawyer, said his client would not make a statement.

``There are two sides to most stories. There are two sides to this one. At the proper time and proper place, Mr. Shinn will give his side,″ Diehl said.

The accuser also had no comment, said a woman who answered the phone at the number given by the accuser on the search warrant. The woman identified herself as the accuser’s mother, but would not give her name.

``She stands by her story,″ said the accuser’s lawyer, Bill Whittaker.

According to the warrant, the woman and Shinn met Sept. 4 after Shinn said he would help her get a lawyer identified in the warrant as ``Bill Dill″ to work on her divorce.

She and Shinn met the next day, and Shinn told her that ``Dill″ was waiting at his house, the documents say.

``As we were riding, George Shinn while driving, ran his hand up my dress,″ the woman said. ``I pushed his hand away ... he then took his hand and went up underneath my shirt and grabbed my breast.″

The woman said she asked to be taken back to where they had met, but Shinn refused. After arriving at Shinn’s Tega Cay house, she asked again to be driven back.

``He started telling me his wife was out of town,″ the woman said in the warrant. ``I kept telling him to take me back ... but he acted like he did not hear me.″

After going inside the house, Shinn took the woman on a tour of the house, which ended in the master bedroom, the documents say.

``I was sitting on a bench in front of his bed, when he pushed me onto the bed and got on top of me,″ the woman told the police.

The warrants say the woman told him she was having her menstrual cycle. ``He then grabbed me by the hair and made me have oral sex,″ the woman told the police.

Shinn then took her back to North Carolina, the warrants say.

``He offered me $200,″ the woman told police. ``I told him that I did not want his money. Just as I was getting out of the car, he patted me on the knee and said we will do this again sometime.″

A Charlotte, N.C., police report said the woman reported she was unlawfully restrained and assaulted near Pineville, N.C. on Sept. 5 and reported the incident to police five days later.

The woman’s injuries were listed as minor and the only weapon used was physical force, the report said.

Local and state police and the FBI have been involved in the investigation.

The warrant was released by the South Carolina Supreme Court, which upheld a lower court’s decision that the document was public despite an appeal from Shinn’s lawyers. Media lawyers had argued that search warrants are public documents and this case should not be treated any differently.

Shinn, 55, a native of Kannapolis, N.C., amassed a fortune by founding a chain of business and vocational schools. His Hornets joined the NBA in 1988 and quickly become one of the league’s perennial attendance leaders.

In addition to the Hornets, who are coming off a franchise-record 54 victories this past season, Shinn owns the WNBA’s Charlotte Sting. He is selling his Class Triple-A baseball team, the Charlotte Knights of the International League. He owned the Single-A Gastonia Rangers from 1989 to 1992.

In 1992, he was part of a group that failed to win ownership of the San Francisco Giants.

Shinn and his wife, Carolyn, have two sons, Chris, 22, and Chad, 16, and a daughter, Susan, 20.

Tega Cay, on Lake Wylie’s shore, also was home to former televangelist Jim Bakker and his wife, Tammy Faye, when Bakker’s PTL ministry collapsed in the 1980s.

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