An independent investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner found the claims to be “concocted” as part of an extortion scheme, USA Today’s A.J. Perez reported Monday.
According to the 29-page report by law firm Fisher & Phillips, which was obtained by USA Today, former Pastner friend Ronald Bell attempted to blackmail the coach numerous times, including making a false allegation that Pastner sexually assaulted Bell’s girlfriend, Jennifer Pendley.
“Bell turned his access in Josh Pastner’s world into a potential money-making opportunity,” Scott Schneider, a partner at Fisher & Phillips, wrote in the report, according to Perez. “Unfortunately for Bell, all of his requests to ‘settle this amicably’ were rebuffed which, in turn, only led him to escalate his allegations. Bell and Pendley’s allegations that Pastner sexually assaulted Pendley are baseless.”
Pastner sued Bell and Pendley in an Arizona court in January, claiming defamation of character and extortion, as well as numerous other claims. Pendley and Bell filed a countersuit against Pastner the following month, alleging misconduct by Pastner toward Pendley numerous times in 2016, including sexual assault.
“In sum, Pendley’s claims are facially implausible, contradicted by verifiable facts, and undermined by a string of contemporaneous communications with the Pastners which belie any claim that Pastner mistreated Pendley in any way,” Schneider wrote in the report, per Perez.
Bell originally claimed in November he provided benefits to two Georgia Tech players in an effort to prevent them from transferring. Those benefits were a violation of NCAA rules, but Pastner claims he had no knowledge of them at the time.
Pastner has claimed that Bell repeatedly demanded money from Pastner and his wife in exchange for not going public with the disclosure of the NCAA violations.
—Field Level Media