GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. – Former NBA All Star center Dwight Howard has been slapped with a lawsuit alleging sexual assault and battery stemming from a July 2021 incident at his Georgia residence with a man named Stephen Harper, according to the civil complaint reviewed by the New York Post.
Howard has denied the allegations and his attorney, Justin Bailey, said the former NBA champion looks forward to “presenting the truth” in court.
“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,” Bailey told ESPN.
“The allegations against Mr. Howard are contested. Mr. Howard intends to present the truth,” Bailey said. “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.”
According to court documents, Howard said he engaged in “consensual sexual activity” with Harper, but denied causing any injury to the man while they were at Howard’s home in July 2021.
Moreover, Howard denied allegations of “intentional infliction of emotional distress” and “false imprisonment,” as alleged in the civil lawsuit.
Dwight Howard in 2018 when he played with the Washington Wizards. (Wikipedia Commons – All Pro Reels)
In July 2022 — a year after the alleged incident — Harper reported the allegations to the Gwinnett County Police Department, but no charges were filed, ESPN reported.
“This report was made following Mr. Harper being blocked on social media and after the first demand for payment was rejected,” Bailey told the outlet.
According to RadarOline.com, the lawsuit claims Howard attempted to force Harper to have a threesome with a mysterious person referred to as “Kitty.” During the encounter, Howard allegedly held Harper against his will as Howard performed oral sex.
As RadarOnline.com previously reported, Harper and Howard got together in July 2021 after they exchanged several salacious text messages where the former NBA star moaned: “Thinking about that meat.”
The two men reportedly undressed and “engaged in consensual kissing” for about 40 minutes when Howard paused the action, left the room briefly before returning with “Kitty.”
“Mr. Harper immediately informed Defendant that Mr. Harper did not come to Defendant’s house for a threesome and was not going to engage in a threesome with Defendant and Kitty,” according to the civil action.
“Mr. Harper became terrified because he realized that he was confined within Defendant’s bedroom with Defendant and Kitty, both of whom were much larger than Mr. Harper,” the lawsuit stated. “Mr. Harper was trapped in Defendant’s bedroom and believed that he would suffer imminent bodily harm if he resisted Defendant’s sexual advances.”
“Kitty (who has yet to be publicly identified) will be a defendant witness,” Bailey told RadarOline.com during an exclusive interview.
Bailey adamantly denied the allegations against his client and accused Harper of trying to make a quick buck from Howard’s celebrity status.
Howard has asked the court to dismiss the civil lawsuit filed against him in July 2023 in Georgia.
Howard was was once married to a WNBA player Te’a Copper, according to sportskeeda. The couple dated and became engaged in 2019 before secretly marrying a year later. However, their marriage didn’t last. The two parted ways in 2021.
During his 18-year NBA career, Howard played for the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers (3x), Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Washington Wizards, and Philadelphia 76ers.
Howard was part of the Lakers championship run during the 2019-2020 season. He last played in the NBA in 2022 and currently occupies his time playing in the Taiwanese pro basketball league with the Taoyuan Leopards.