EXCLUSIVE: Big Island police now investigating alleged sex assault by BJ Penn

EXCLUSIVE: Big Island police now investigating alleged sex assault by BJ Penn

HILO, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - Big Island police are now investigating alleged sex assault allegations against mixed martial arts champion B.J. Penn.

In February, the girlfriend of a former employee accused the Hilo native of sexually assaulting her.

The former employee claims his girlfriend was alone at their Hilo home on August 31, when Penn went over to look for him. The man's girlfriend told authorities that Penn was intoxicated and wouldn't leave and then attacked her.

The couple moved to the mainland, saying they feared for their safety and therefore didn't report it to police until months later, after settling down in Ohio. Ohio police provided Hawaii News Now with the police report.

Because the alleged assault happened in Hilo, the case was forwarded from Ohio, a process that has taken weeks.

Sources say Hawaii County detectives were assigned the case just Monday morning and the investigation is just beginning.

The former employee worked for the UFC Hall of Famer for years, writing for his website and social media.

In an interview with Hawaii News Now, he claimed Penn has a substance abuse problem. He also said he has text messages, emails and video recordings that prove Penn's own family was trying to get him help, even discussing a rehab facility on the mainland, after the former employee confronted them.

Penn retired in July 2014, but announced a comeback fight that was put on hold by the UFC after the sex assault allegations were made public. The fight has since been rescheduled to June 4.

Penn's camp denied the accusations, saying the former employee and his girlfriend were trying to extort the fighter. The former employee told HNN that he has never asked for money, but would drop the case if Penn publicly apologized to his girlfriend.

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