Oro Valley couple files sexual assault lawsuit against former Wildcat Josh Pastner

Oro Valley couple files sexual assault lawsuit against former Wildcat Josh Pastner
Paul Gattone, attorney for Ron Bell and Jennifer Pendley, speaks after filing a sexual assault lawsuit against Georgia Tech head basketball coach Josh Pastner on Thursday, Feb. 8. (Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - EDITOR'S NOTE: The following story features graphic allegations and descriptions.

An Oro Valley couple has filed a lawsuit against Georgia Tech's Josh Pastner, claiming sexual assault and sexual battery by the head basketball coach.

The suit, which can be read HERE, was filed by Ron Bell and Jennifer Pendley in Pima County on Thursday, Feb. 8.

The move comes less than a month after Pastner filed a defamation lawsuit against Bell and Pendley, also in Pima County.

In the counter lawsuit, Bell and Pendley claim Pastner sexually assaulted Pendley in February 2016 when he was head coach at Memphis.

On Thursday, Pendley said she has not yet reported the allegations to authorities but is considering filing a police report.

Pastner allegedly masturbated in front of Pendley and tried to force her to give him oral sex. According to the lawsuit, Pastner then told Pendley not to tell anyone because he "knew very powerful people who would make Pendley's life a living hell."

Bell and Pendley claim in later encounters, including in 2017 when Pastner was at Georgia Tech, he would "pinch Pendley's butt and fondle her."

Pastner's attorney Scott Tompsett issued a response to Thursday's lawsuit. It can be read below.

This is in response to the false and malicious claim Jennifer Pendley made today against my client Josh Pastner.

In Pastner's lawsuit filed in January 2017, the coach accused Bell and Pendley for defamation, inflicted emotional distress, conspiracy, blackmail and extortion.

Bell and Pendley both denied the allegations in Pastner's suit on Thursday.

According to the lawsuit, Bell and Pendley "began a malicious campaign to defame Pastner, and to extort and blackmail Pastner" by threatening to release accusations the lawsuit contends are "false and patently untrue."

Some of the accusations against Pastner are related to suspensions announced in November of two Georgia Tech players, Josh Okogie and Tadric Jackson. Okogie and Jackson were suspended for six and three games, respectively, for accepting benefits - including flights provided by Bell in violation of NCAA rules.

Overall, Georgia Tech determined Jackson and Okogie received apparel, meals and transportation valued at less than $525 and less than $750, respectively.

In November 2017, Bell told CBS Sports he provided the benefits, including flights to Arizona for the two players. Bell said Pastner was aware of the trip, something the coach has denied.

Pastner and Bell first met more than 10 years ago when Pastner was an assistant coach at the University of Arizona. Pastner played at UA from 1996 to 2000 and was a Wildcats assistant from 2002-2008. He was head coach at Memphis from 2009 to 2016 and spent the last two years at Georgia Tech.

According to a USA Today report, the two grew close in 2013 after Pastner helped Bell get through a bout with cancer.

Bell began attending games and hanging around Pastner's programs in Memphis and then Georgia Tech.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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