Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
Sport | By Floyd Cook

Sexual assault lawsuit filed against ex-UA basketball player, coach Josh Pastner

Sexual assault lawsuit filed against ex-UA basketball player, coach Josh Pastner

Court documents filed on February 8, 2018 claim the assaults happened while Pastner was, first, head coach at the University of Memphis, then at Georgia Tech.

Pastner flatly called the accusation "a lie". It says Pendley and Bell were staying in the Hilton Americas Hotel downtown to support the University of Memphis men's basketball team, where Pastner was the head coach at the time.

Pastner's lawyer, Scott Tompsett, issued a statement shortly after the filing, denying the sexual assault and calling Pendley's claim "malicious".

Pendley reported the alleged assault to her doctor a year later, the suit states, and the doctor subsequently referred her to a counselor and psychiatrist.

The lawsuit, which was filed by Pastner's long-time friend and Arizona resident Ron Bell, and Bell's girlfriend Jennifer Pendley, is a counterclaim in response to a defamation claim filed against the couple by Pastner last month. Their false claims of assault are a last-ditch effort to continue an extortion and blackmail scheme that failed. Pendley claims that while Bell was in the shower, Pastner masturbated in front of her and tried to force her to perform oral sex on him, despite Pendley resisting, crying, telling Pastner "no" and asking Pastner to stop during the incident. Okogie and Jackson were suspended for six and three games, respectively, for accepting benefits - including flights provided by Bell in violation of NCAA rules.

The counterclaim claims the incident happened in Houston, Texas at a hotel.

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"There was no sexual assault", Tompsett said. Pastner told her, according to the suit, that he knew powerful people who would make her life "a living hell".

In November, Bell told CBS Sports that he had paid for the players to fly to Arizona in May 2017 and provided other gifts, including shoes and clothing.

When officers arrived at Bell's home, according to the report, Pendley told them that things were "touch and go" and "okay right now", but she didn't want to talk about the situation.

Pendley did not tell Bell about the assault, fearing he would not believe her, she said. While Bell was getting food, the court papers said, Pastner "ran his hand up and down Pendley's leg" beneath the table and then reached between her legs.

However, this counterclaim brings the first in-court allegations against the 40-year-old coach. He played for UA under then-head coach Lute Olson from 1996-2000 and was a member of the Wildcats' 1997 national championship team.

"Pastner was in his final season as Memphis" coach at the time. Bell and Pastner had developed a close relationship since Bell got out of prison.

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