Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner responds to sexual assault accusations in counter lawsuit

An Arizona woman, Jennifer Pendley, filed a lawsuit on Thursday afternoon accusing Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner of sexual assault in an alleged incident that took place in February 2016 when he was head coach at Memphis.

The lawsuit comes one month after Pastner filed a defamation suit against Pendley and Ron Bell, both of whom accused Pastner of underplaying NCAA violations and assaulting Pendley. Both Pendley and Bell claim to have provided impermissible benefits to Yellow Jackets players, which CBS Sports' Gary Parrish reported on extensively.

The counterclaim filed Thursday alleges that, during a trip to Houston for a Memphis basketball game, Pastner sexually assaulted Pendley while Bell was in the shower at the team hotel. Below are details of the suit as reported by Dan Marries of KOLD in Tuscon.

Pastner's attorney, Scott Tompsett, released the following statement on Thursday evening in the wake of the allegations.

Josh sued Jennifer Pendley and Ron Bell last month because of their months-long attempt to defame and extort him, and because we anticipated they would not stop, but instead would continue their malicious lies. Thus, today's filing by Ms. Pendley is not a surprise.

There was no sexual assault. It is a lie. Josh never acted improperly with Ms. Pendley. Never.

In fact, contrary to the claim she filed today, for two years after Ms. Pendley alleges the first assault occurred, Ms. Pendley continued to proactively and enthusiastically initiate communication and contact with Josh and his wife, visiting their home, giving gifts to their children, attending games, and publicly expressing positive statements about Josh and his character. We have dozens of text messages and emails from Ms. Pendley to Josh and his wife which refute Ms. Pendley's claims and prove Josh did not do any of the things Ms. Pendley now claims he did.

As detailed in our Complaint (a copy of which will be redistributed to media outlets), Mr. Bell and Ms. Pendley began alleging assault only after their two-month long scheme to blackmail Josh by claiming he knowingly participated in NCAA violations failed. Their false claims of assault are a last-ditch effort to continue an extortion and blackmail scheme that failed.

Our Complaint shows that Mr. Bell is a career criminal with multiple felony arrests and convictions, and a long history of dishonest and antisocial behavior. And as the Complaint explains, it was Mr. Bell - not Ms. Pendley - who first alleged that Josh assaulted Ms. Pendley.

Since filing the Complaint, we learned of an Oro Valley Police Department Report from last year showing that the police investigated concerns that Mr. Bell was abusing Ms. Pendley and keeping her from leaving the home they share. The police response was prompted by friends of Ms. Pendley who reported Ms. Pendley told them she was "in fear of her life" and that Mr. Bell "is physically and verbally abusive." According to the Report, Ms. Pendley told police that she had not been fully free to leave the home when she wanted. The Report also states that Ms. Pendley told the police Mr. Bell doesn't always let her speak to her family. A copy of the Report is attached.

As the Complaint shows, Mr. Bell has a long history of abusive, manipulative and controlling behavior toward women. Mr. Bell's ex-wife sought a protective order because Mr. Bell "threatened to have [her] beat up to the point of drinking through a straw for 6 mos." A former girlfriend of Mr. Bell resorted to calling friends to rescue her from the house she shared with Mr. Bell because Mr. Bell would not let her leave.

We are confident evidence will show Mr. Bell has been similarly abusive, manipulative and controlling of Ms. Pendley, and the truth about the abusive and dysfunctional relationship between Mr. Bell and Ms. Pendley, and the nefarious reasons for their malicious lies about Josh, will be fully revealed in court and before a jury.

Their own families do not even support them. Mr. Bell's mother said every word out of her son's mouth is a lie. Our Complaint explains how Mr. Bell falsely accused his own mother of sexually abusing him when he was a boy, and how Ms. Pendley backed up and participated in Mr. Bell's lie. Mr. Bell's father had to obtain a protective order against Mr. Bell. We've been told Ms. Pendley's family has effectively stopped communicating with her and we understand her family fully supports Josh's lawsuit against Ms. Pendley.

In this era of women courageously coming forward to report valid claims of sexual assault and harassment, we are saddened and outraged that Mr. Bell and Ms. Pendley have concocted a malicious lie to blackmail and to harm a family that showed only compassion toward them.

Josh will continue to prosecute his legal claims against Mr. Bell and Ms. Pendley, and we will continue to cooperate with law enforcement in their investigations of the couple.

On Thursday after the Yellow Jackets suffered a 77-54 loss to Louisville, Pastner himself vehemently denied the allegations and said there is "zero" truth to it.

"I believe in principle, I believe in character, I live my life that way, and I've done that from the very beginning," said Pastner.

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