November 09, 2015

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Five women have joined a lawsuit filed against escort Katina Powell and say she falsely alleges in her book that they participated in prostitution at the University of Louisville.

Jemiah Nash, Marquease Richardson, Precious Burnley, Shinita Martin and Dolly Bolden joined a suit previously filed by a Louisville student that accuses Powell of damaging the school's reputation in her book, ''Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen.'' Powell says former Cardinals men's basketball staffer Andre McGee hired her and other dancers to strip and have sex with recruits and players.

The women say Powell's allegations are false and accuse her, author Dick Cady and publisher IBJ Book Publishing of using their names, stage names and images without consent. Three other students joined the suit on Monday, and it seeks to be designated as a class action.

Powell wrote that McGee paid her $10,000 for 22 shows from 2010-14 at the players' Billy Minardi Hall dormitory on campus.

Cardinals coach Rick Pitino has denied knowledge of the activities described in Powell's book and vowed not to resign. McGee recently resigned as an assistant at Missouri-Kansas-City, where he went after leaving Louisville in 2014.

Besides denying the prostitution allegations, the women also accuse the defendants of failing to perform due diligence and added that they have ''engaged in a fraudulent and deceitful scam.'' They also say they have endured ''loss, harm and damage,'' and emotional distress.

Powell's attorney, Larry Wilder of Jeffersonville, Indiana, said Monday night in a statement texted to The Associated Press that the complaint filed Monday in Jefferson Circuit Court ''is further confirmation of what Ms. Powell has asserted from the outset. ... However, it seems that if they didn't want to be identified as being involved in this behavior they would have been wise to not confirm the events and then provide their `names.'''

Four investigations are ongoing into Powell's allegations. Louisville's athletic department and the NCAA launched theirs after the school was notified in August and contacted the governing body.

Campus police and Louisville Metro Police are working with the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office for possible criminal charges. Subpoenas recently issued by a grand jury were scheduled to be answered last Thursday; the publisher recently said it was ''considering an appropriate response'' to the subpoena.

The University of Louisville Foundation has hired a law firm to review the allegations.

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