The family of Aussie NBA superstar Ben Simmons has released a statement denying claims made by his sister that their half-brother molested her when she was a child.
Simmons’ half brother and manager Sean Tribe issued the statement on Saturday on behalf of the family saying they were “devastated” by the allegations and claiming the “entire family deny them”.
In a series of tweets that began on Wednesday, Olivia Simmons accused Mr Tribe of abusing her from the age of three and claimed she had been “silenced for years” from speaking out about the allegations.
“At the end of the day I was molested by my half brother for years from age 3,” she wrote on Twitter.
“I’ve been asking for therapy but my family would rather sweep it under the rug because it could damage my brothers brand. I’m over hiding.”
Ms Simmons, 29, also claimed she told her mother about the alleged abuse when she was five but was not supported.
The alleged abuse caused her to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and other serious mental health issues, she claimed in her tweets.
“I don’t blame my dad but there was someone who knew and that person was my mother and again she doesn’t ever want to discuss these things because she got the life she was aiming for,” Ms Simmons wrote.
“She often says ‘I should’ve just had Ben’ … I will not be silent.”
NCA NewsWire is not suggesting the allegations are true.
Three days after the first of Ms Simmons’ tweets Mr Tribe issued a statement to Instagram and Twitter from the family categorically denying her allegations.
“We are deeply saddened by the false allegations made on Twitter this week by our daughter and sister, Olivia Simmons, against her brother,” the statement reads.
“As a family we are devastated that we even have to release this statement. The allegations she made never happened.
“Her brother and the entire family deny them.”
The statement went on to say Ms Simmons had suffered from mental health issues and had been “in and out of treatment for much of her life”.
“We love her very much and our hearts break for her,” it said.
“Still, we do not understand why she would fabricate these allegations.
“The family has always provided both help and support for he mental health, and we continue to do so, however she has to engage and remain engaged in the process. Both her family and friends will continue to encourage her to do so.”
It said the family had full support for women who are “brave enough to speak up” about their abuse and trauma and they should be “empowered to do that”.
“But that is not what happened here,” the statement said.
“We would ask that people respect our privacy as we work through this as a family. We want Olivia to find healing and peace and in due course, reconcile with her family who loves her very much.”
Melbourne-based mother Ms Simmons claimed on Twitter before Mr Tribe’s statement came out that she had been pressured to issue a statement of her own “saying I am lying”.
“I gain nothing from opening up about traumatic event other than healing and helping others,” she said.
“I was molested, it ruined my life, I am now recovering.”
Ben Simmons, who was born in Melbourne and also lived in Newcastle during his youth, is one of Australia’s greatest basketball exports.
The Philadelphia 76ers star earns an estimated salary of $US29m per year and has been touted as a favourite for the NBA’s defensive player of the year this season.
Drafted as the number one pick in 2016, he was named NBA rookie of the year in 2018.