A man who was behind a conspiracy to falsely accuse the Georgia Tech basketball coach of sexual assault has been convicted.
WSBTV reported that Ron Bell, a former friend of coach Josh Pastner, “was convicted on six misdemeanor counts of soliciting or influencing a witness, two counts of evidence tampering, two counts of attempted tampering with a witness, false information and facilitation of fraud, scheme and practice.”
Back in 2018, when Pastner was coaching the Memphis Tigers, Bell’s girlfriend Jennifer Pendley accused him of sexually assaulting her two years earlier. Pendley, according to WSBTV, did not file a police report regarding her allegations.
Also in 2018, Pastner and Bell were embroiled in a public dispute over providing gifts to two Georgia Tech players in violation of NCAA. Each accused the other of supplying the gifts.
“Bell admitted to providing the players with improper benefits and paying to fly them to his home, paying for meals at a restaurant in Atlanta and buying them shoes and clothes,” WSBTV reported. “Numerous photos and home videos show Bell inside the Georgia Tech locker room and interacting with players there and during practices, as well as at his Arizona home.”
“Pastner self-reported the NCAA violations but denied he was previously aware of them. The NCAA suspended Georgia Tech men’s basketball from the 2019-2020 postseason and put the team on probation for four years,” the outlet added. “Pastner was not directly named in the NCAA’s findings and was largely cleared in Georgia Tech’s own investigation.”
Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury released a statement regarding the school’s investigation that admonished Pastner “for his poor judgment” in allowing Bell “to get close to the program in the first place.”
Following the investigation, Pastner sued Bell and Pendley for defamation. The two countersued, which is when Pendley claimed Pastner had sexually assaulted her in 2016. But as WSBTV reported, jailhouse transcripts between Bell (who was in jail in 2018on an unrelated conviction from the late 1990s) and Pendley show the sexual assault allegations were fake.
On Monday, a judge ruled that overwhelming evidence showed the allegations were false.
“The court began its deliberations with an analysis of whether the claim that Jennifer Pendley was sexually assaulted was possible or whether it was fabricated,” the verdict said. “Evidence is overwhelming that the allegations were fabricated.”
“The evidence showed that Ronald Bell engaged in a pattern of reactive and retaliatory behavior against Josh Pastner over several months for perceived slights to their friendship/relationship. The prosecution proved that Ronald was motivated to bring about Josh Pastner’s downfall,” the verdict continued.
WSBTV previously reported that in addition to transcripts from videos and phone calls between the couple proving the sexual assault allegations were false, the couple also failed to provide a T-Shirt they claimed contained Pastner’s bodily fluid. Their legal team also dropped them as clients, claiming the couple refused to provide them access to the evidence they claimed proved the sexual assault allegations.
The transcripts show that Bell threatened he would “come clean” about Pendley’s false allegations.
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