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Texas Longhorn assistant coach sued over Halloween monkey attack

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — A lawsuit was filed in Travis County last week against University of Texas assistant football coach Jeff Banks and his girlfriend Danielle Thomas after their pet monkey bit a child on Halloween.

The story — and that of the cyber-sleuths that sussed out and took screenshots of how the situation unfolded — went viral early in November and some of the details are being either confirmed or clarified.

According to ESPN, the lawsuit states that Amy and Casey Clinkenbeard and their child, identified as C.C., was trick-or-treating and was invited to attend a haunted house at Banks and Thomas’ home.

The Clinkenbeard’s claim that, after finishing the haunted house experience, they were taken to the monkey named Gia and told she was trained to give high-fives.

“Instead of giving a high five, Danielle Thomas’s monkey aggressively bit down on C.C.’s hand and refused to let go,” The lawsuit reads.  “C.C. was forced to manually pry the monkey’s jaw open. There was so much blood that C.C. was unable to see the full extent of the injury.”

A physician who lives nearby reportedly treated C.C. and went to Thomas’ home to tell her that a report would be filed with the local health department and asked for Gia’s vaccination information to help medical professionals treat C.C. appropriately. According to the lawsuit, Thomas has still not provided the Clinkenbeards with the monkey’s vaccination information.

“Instead of showing any semblance of care for an injured child, Danielle Thomas was instead worried about the risk of her monkey being taken away. … Danielle Thomas stated to the physician that the monkey had bitten her before and that she was fine, implying that the monkey therefore did not have rabies,” the lawsuit says.

Thomas is being accused of making false statements on social media that C.C. did not have permission to be on the property and that haunted house guests were told to stay out of the backyard near Gia’s enclosure in an “effort to discredit C.C. and his family and protect the monkey.”

The now-deleted tweets, that include a video from Thomas discussing the attack, were saved and have been reposted.

Thomas is a former pole dancer with credits that include The Jerry Springer Show and Gia was part of her act. The monkey has her own social media profiles.


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A post shared by gia (@monkey_gia)


“I had a haunted house on one side gated off/ he had no permission to go pass the gate i had no idea he went in my back yard,” Thomas tweeted prior to deleting her account. “neither did i know anything about a bite ! Until a doctor of neighborhood told me the treat a small bite. No parent have contacted me about it !”

A Halloween Tale: Longhorns football, a pole dancer and her monkey

The Clinkenbeard are seeking damages for gross negligence and defamation.

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