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Nationals’ assistant hitting coach faces revenge porn lawsuit

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The Washington Nationals announced that assistant hitting coach Jacque Jones was suspended pending a legal matter minutes before Friday’s Game 1 of the NLDS – a game they would lose 3-0 to the Chicago Cubs.

The team said Jones’ suspension with pay was due to a pending legal matter that the club is investigating. Court documents obtained by USA TODAY Sports spell out what that legal matter appears to be: a revenge porn lawsuit that lists both Jones and the Nationals as defendants.

According to the lawsuit filed last week in San Diego Superior Court, Jones allegedly distributed multiple nude photos of the plaintiff — referenced as Jane Doe in the filing — after Jones and the woman’s relationship ended in August. The Nationals were served with the lawsuit on Friday, Rory Pendergast, an attorney for Jones’ ex-girlfriend, told USA TODAY Sports.

“Ask ya homegirl if she wants these back?” Jones allegedly wrote to a Facebook friend in a message that accompanied the images. “I see your post and she’s on some bull (expletive). She’s loony and the type of chick that makes a (expletive) wanna stay single.”

The Washington Post was the first to report the lawsuit.

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Robert Fitzpatrick, the woman’s attorney, alleges in the lawsuit Jones continued to distribute the photos to other mutual friends and that Jones, who played in the majors 10 seasons, was “punishing” her for ending the relationship.

“(The) plaintiff is seeking justice for Coach Jones’s intimidation and emotional abuse in connection with his distribution of private and intimate photos of plaintiff while on the job with the Washington Nationals,” Pendergast said in an email.

No legal representation was listed for either Jones or the Nationals.

Nationals manager Dusty Baker called Jones’ suspension “kind of a downer.”

 “He’s a big part of the team,” Baker said after the 3-0 loss to Chicago. “I don’t know if that had anything to do with it, but it was a bit of a downer, and we hope that things subside and work themselves out.”

The lawsuit also claims that the Nationals “knew of Coach Jones’s propensity and predisposition to emotionally abuse and intimidate women.”

When contacted, Fitzpatrick wrote the Nationals “failed to investigate, failed to train, and improperly retained Coach Jones even after it knew or should have known of his bad conduct toward women. … Defendant Washington Nationals did nothing.”

According to the lawsuit, Jones’ ex-girlfriend continues to experience “severe emotional distress, embarrassment, and even physical manifestations of the pain, including vomiting at the thought of Coach Jones’s actions.”

Jones is in his second season with the club.

The lawsuit seeks at least $25,000 in damages. The first hearing date is March 9.

Follow Perez on Twitter @byajperez