Originally created 09/17/97

Shinn accused of assault, kidnapping



COLUMBIA - Charlotte Hornets owner George Shinn is accused of kidnapping a 28-year-old woman and sexually assaulting her in his Tega Cay home, according to a search warrant released Tuesday.

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

William Diehl, Mr. 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," Mr. 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.

The warrant was released by the South Carolina Supreme Court, which upheld a lower judge's decision that the document was public despite an appeal from Mr. Shinn's lawyers.

According to the warrant, the woman and Mr. Shinn met Sept. 4 at a place identified in the warrant as "Amethist." The address on the warrant belongs to Amethyst, a center that treats substance abuse and other behavioral health problems, a facility spokesman said.

The spokesman would not say whether the woman was being treated at the facility, which is owned by Charlotte-based Carolinas Health Care System.

The accuser had been told that Mr. Shinn would help her get a lawyer identified in the warrant as "Bill Dill" to work on her divorce.

She and Shinn met the next morning, and Shinn told her "Dill" was waiting at the Tega Cay 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 Mr. Shinn refused. After arriving at Mr. 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, Mr. Shinn took the woman on a tour of the house, which ended 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.

Mr. 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 police report said the woman reported she was unlawfully restrained and assaulted in the vicinity of Rock Hill-Pineville Rd. (N.C. Highway 51) and Downs Circle. The location is near Pineville, N.C.

The report lists the time of the attack as 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 5. It says the woman reported the attack 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. Authorities, including prosecutor Tommy Pope, have said they do not oppose the release of the documents.