Police: Brunson used fake name to book masseuse before assault - New York News

Police: Brunson used fake name to book masseuse before assault

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Rick Brunson / photo from Vernon Hills police Rick Brunson / photo from Vernon Hills police
VERNON HILLS, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

After a masseuse told Rick Brunson to stop requesting her services, the former Chicago Bulls player and coach used the name “Patrick Ewing” to book her for another appointment, according to the police report obtained Tuesday.

A confrontation during that appointment resulted in a series of sex-based criminal charges against Brunson, who is accused of touching the masseuse inappropriately, police said.

Brunson, 42, of the 1200 block of Christine Court in Vernon Hills, was charged on June 25 with sexual abuse, attempted sexual assault and three counts of battery in connection with the April 2 appointment at the Lifetime Fitness in Vernon Hills, Pioneer Press is reporting.

Police initially refused to provide details of the arrest, saying they wanted to protect the victim, but numerous police reports were ultimately released under Freedom of Information Act requests.

Those reports show that Brunson had 19 massages at the Lifetime Fitness facility beginning in December 2011, seven of which were scheduled with the victim. Brunson’s last appointment was on Aug. 21, 2013 at which point the masseuse reportedly told him to stop requesting her.

Brunson declined to comment on the matter.

According to the police reports, he booked the April 2 appointment under the name “Patrick Ewing,” a former star with the New York Knicks, and took the woman by surprise when he arrived and removed his clothes.

The woman told police she initially protested the massage, but agreed to begin a standard 60-minute session because he had already undressed and used one of her appointment slots. Police say Brunson touched the masseuse, but specifics are not being released. The woman’s bra was collected for possible DNA evidence.

The reports note that throughout the month-long investigation, the woman continued to feel pain, but said she didn’t see a doctor because she didn’t have medical insurance.

Surveillance footage from April 2, according to police, shows the woman escorting Brunson to Lifetime’s front counter and then remaining behind the desk for an extended period of time without doing work or talking to coworkers.

Coworkers reportedly told police that the woman was distant and emotionally unbalanced for several days after the appointment.

After the alleged incident, Brunson reportedly called the woman several times.

Lifetime Fitness called Brunson on April 9 to inform him that his membership was terminated due to the incident, according to police reports.

A caller from a restricted number dialed the woman’s cell phone at 5:49 p.m. that same day, and again at 7:31 p.m., according to police reports. A caller from a phone number the woman knew to be Brunson’s dialed her at 11:31 p.m. She claims she did not answer any of the calls, and no voicemails were left.

The woman told police she has Brunson’s phone number because she’d previously been to his house to massage Brunson’s son. The report did not specify his son’s name, but a coaching bio on NBA.com, from Brunson’s 2012 hire as an assistant coach with the Bulls, indicates that Brunson has a son named Jalen and a daughter named Erika.

Brunson’s son Jalen, who plays for Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, is ranked the nation’s top high school point guard, according to ESPN. Jalen was also a significant contributor on Team USA, which recently won the gold medal in the FIBA Americas-sanctioned under-18 basketball championships.

Brunson returned a call to police on April 14, according to a report, and accused the masseuse of making numerous false allegations in the past. The phone call was not recorded due to a glitch, and other details from the conversation were redacted from the police report.

Police also were involved in a dispute between Brunson and the woman last year, according to the reports, but information about the context of the dispute was not revealed. Brunson and the woman later resolved the situation without police, and the situation did not involve sexual accusations, the reports said.

Charges against Brunson were approved by the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office on June 24 and Vernon Hills police arrested him at his home the next day. Brunson’s attorney Michael Zaslavsky later told police they could not speak to Brunson, and could not take a DNA sample.

Brunston is expected in court July 10, according to the state’s attorney’s office.

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