OV prosecutor Troy Simon wins Guardian of Freedom Award

Published on November 10, 2021


ORO VALLEY, Ariz. (Nov. 10, 2021) – Oro Valley’s Assistant Town Prosecutor Troy Simon has been awarded the prestigious Guardian of Freedom Award for his work on the Ron Bell case.

The Guardian of Freedom Award is issued by the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Advisory Council. Established in 2018, the award pays tribute to Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein and her husband, Kurt Klein. The Kleins, who advocated for Holocaust education and human rights, recognized lawyers as living embodiments of the United States Constitution and often the last line of defense for the rights of both victims and the accused. The award honors legal professionals in Arizona who live up to the Kleins’ ideals by making professional and ethical decisions, regardless of the outcome of the case. As such, this is not necessarily an annual award; rather, it is awarded as exceptional actions warrant.

“Gerda Weissmann Klein is a Holocaust survivor and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. I am honored to have received an award in her name,” said Simon. “My concern has always been the victim; in this case, Josh Pastner. Sometimes, you have to go the extra mile to help protect people.”

Ron Bell was convicted on misdemeanor charges in July 2021 for orchestrating false sexual assault accusations against Georgia Tech basketball coach Josh Pastner. The case included DNA tests, lengthy depositions with more than 160 exhibits, and 21 full days of trial over an eight-month period.

About Gerda Weissmann Klein

Born in 1924, Gerda Weissmann Klein is a Polish American writer and human rights activist. During World War II, Gerda survived deportation, slave-labor camps and the infamous three-month death march from the Polish-German border to southern Czechoslovakia. She married her liberator, Kurt Klein (1920-2002) in 1946. As the sole survivor of her family, Gerda has shared her story through written and oral testimonies. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. To watch a video about the story of her survival and liberation, click here.


Assistant Town Prosecutor Troy Simon 

Gerda Weissman Klein.jpg

Gerda Weissmann Klein