Woman gets 1 year in GT, Pastner extortion case

Jennifer Pendley, an Arizona woman who falsely accused then-Georgia Tech basketball coach Josh Pastner of sexually assaulting her, has been sentenced to one year in prison and three years of supervised release, according to federal court records.

Pendley had pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit extortion. Her co-conspirator, Ronald Bell, received a 33-month prison sentence on the same charge.

The government said Bell, who had been Pastner’s friend, admitted he recruited a security guard who worked Georgia Tech basketball games to falsely claim that he witnessed Pastner assault Pendley. Bell had promised the security guard a share of what he alleged would be a $20 million settlement.

Pastner, who was fired as the Yellow Jackets’ coach in March, denied the couple’s allegations, saying there was “zero truth to any of those disgusting, bogus allegations. It’s disgusting.”

The government said Bell also communicated with Georgia Tech officials and demanded money in exchange for not reporting the alleged sexual assault. In one text message, Bell wrote: “This is going to get very ugly. GT has made no effort … to amicably resolve this … I guess this has to get ugly. I tried to resolve this without damaging GT’s reputation …”

Georgia Tech officials refused to pay Bell, and Pendley filed a lawsuit shortly thereafter in which she claimed sexual assault, sexual battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The security guard later recanted his statement to law enforcement about witnessing Pastner assault Pendley before a game against Sam Houston State in Atlanta on Nov. 22, 2016. The security guard later admitted he wasn’t working that day, was out of the state and made the allegations “in exchange for an offer of a portion of an anticipated civil monetary settlement/judgment.”

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