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BC-BKC--Georgia Tech-Pastner-Lawsuit,1st Ld-Writethru

May 22, 2019

ORO VALLEY, Ariz. (AP) — An Arizona couple is facing more criminal charges for allegedly trying to implicate Georgia Tech basketball coach Josh Pastner in a sexual assault, according to court records.

Prosecutors in Oro Valley, where Ron Bell lives, brought additional charges against him Friday, the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson reported. Bell is now facing one count each of providing false information to law enforcement and facilitation of a fraud scheme practice.

In addition, an arrest warrant has been issued for his fiancee, Jennifer Pendley.

Both are already facing counts related to an alleged scheme to extort Pastner. Bell purportedly encouraged Pendley to file a false report accusing Pastner of sexually assaulting her in the hopes of getting a monetary settlement, according to a complaint signed by prosecutors.

Pastner, a former University of Arizona assistant coach, and the couple, who were once friends, have been entangled in litigation since January 2018. It started when Pastner sued them for blackmail and defamation. He accused them of falsely claiming he broke NCAA rules.

They in turn countersued, which is when they accused Pastner of sexually assaulting Pendley at a Houston hotel in 2016 when he was a coach at Memphis.

Georgia Tech conducted an independent investigation last year and found no basis for the sexual misconduct allegations.

The couple’s claim has not stood up in court. A security guard deposed as a witness recanted his statement that he saw the coach assault Pendley after a game. He also disclosed they had offered him part of any settlement money in exchange for his statement.

Attorneys listed for Bell did not immediately return calls seeking comment. It’s unclear if Pendley has hired a new attorney since her previous one recently quit.

Pastner played at Arizona from 1996-2000 and was a Wildcats assistant coach from 2002-08 before being hired by Memphis in 2009. He met Bell during his time in Tucson.

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