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Battery Case Reopened Against Shaq

November 13, 1998

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ The battery case against Los Angeles Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal was reopened Friday after his accuser recontacted authorities.

Kim Grant, a 23-year-old worker at Walt Disney World, said in a complaint last month that the basketball star grabbed her neck outside Disney’s Pleasure Island nightclubs after she tried to end a conversation with him.

Police investigators later tried at least six times to get in touch with Grant, by telephone and letter, said Cmdr. Steve Jones, a spokesman for the Orange County sheriff’s office. When she couldn’t be contacted, the complaint was shelved.

But she came to the sheriff’s office Friday morning, saying she hadn’t known officials were looking for her until newspapers reported last week that her complaint wasn’t being be processed because she couldn’t be found.

``She said she saw the story in the paper,″ Jones said. ``I don’t know if she travels out of town or what.″

Now that she has resurfaced, charges of simple battery will be filed with the state attorney’s office, Jones said.

No one was immediately available for comment Friday at Management Plus, which represents O’Neal, but his agent, Leonard Armato, said after the complaint was filed that ``the accusations are completely false and without factual support.″

In her complaint, Ms. Grant said she was on duty at the entrance to Disney’s Pleasure Island when the 7-foot-1 O’Neal asked her name and asked if she had friends.

The woman said the men told her they were ``going to look for girls,″ and she tried to end the conversation with the comment, ``Be my guest.″

At that point, O’Neal grabbed her by the neck, pulled her to him and said, ``I was just playing. Can’t you take a joke?″ according to the complaint.

O’Neal originally played for the Orlando Magic and still owns a home in Isleworth, a gated community outside Orlando.

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