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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Former Tiger Darius Washington's Ex-Girlfriend Wants Child Support

Ex-Tiger's ex-girlfriend wants child support

By Ronald Tillery
December 20, 2006

Darius Washington Jr. is filling up box scores for a Greek professional basketball team these days.

But Washington, a former University of Memphis standout, isn't scoring points with his son, Darius III, the child's mother alleges.

Bianca Brunetti, 20, claims that Washington hasn't supplied financial or any other assistance for their 1-year-old child since August, and she has petitioned the Shelby County Juvenile Court for child support.
Brunetti also provided The Commercial Appeal with documents that show Darius III receives public assistance -- $95 a month.

"It hurts that he could do his first child like that just because we're not together," Brunetti said. "I'm not doing this because of me. I don't want people to know all about me and Darius. I'm doing this for my son. He doesn't know who his daddy is. It's sad how Darius changed. I'm tired of him getting away with things and not taking care of his responsibility."

Washington, 21, plays for PAOK in Greece.

He wasn't drafted by the NBA, but the NBDL's Austin Toros made Washington a first-round pick in the minor league. He chose to play in Europe because those contracts often pay six figures. In the NBDL, Washington stood to earn only a fraction of his Greek salary.

Washington disputed Brunetti's claims. The point guard indicated he will return to Memphis soon in hopes of settling a dispute that he said has as much to do with Brunetti preventing him from seeing Darius III.

"I have and I will continue to always support and love my son," Washington said.

"I have been in Europe the last two months, and when I return, I plan on filing a motion for joint custody. It is unfortunate that it has come to this point between his mother and I. ... I am disappointed that she would say these things about me, but I know people say and do things that are untrue when their feelings are hurt.

"Obviously our relationship did not work out and her feelings are hurt. He is still my son and I love him and will take care of him as best I can. It is sometimes difficult because I am just beginning my career and this is an emotionally charged situation, but I hope with the help of the legal system I can gain control of it very soon and carry out what is best for our son."

Brunetti said she is employed and is still enrolled at the University of Memphis. She acknowledged living with the Washingtons at their Orlando-area residence from May-July. Brunetti said she received $200 from Washington during an August visit while he worked a summer-league stint with Dallas. Washington's family also gave her $260 that month.

Brunetti insists that's the last time she received money for their son.

"I'm not a gold digger. I'm digging the wrong hole if I am," Brunetti said. "His family pretty much helped me with the baby from birth until about July. It's just that now he feels as though he has no responsibility. I don't care what people think of me. This is about my son."

Brunetti said her relationship with Washington ended in August after he called off their engagement.

"I should have listened to my parents," Brunetti said. "I was being hard-headed. I was in love."

-- Ronald Tillery: 529-2353

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