Lions coach Patricia hits back over 1996 allegation

Grant SmithMay 14, 2018

According to court documents obtained by the Detroit Free Press, the witness list included a nurse, doctor, police detective, police officer and college friend of the alleged victim. Just as this franchise and its fans have started to feel good about the organization and the direction it is headed, they were all blindsided by a blast from Matt Patricia's past.

"I was innocent then, and I am innocent now", Patricia would say Thursday. Patricia, then 21, and Greg Dietrich, then 22, were arrested and later indicted by a grand jury on a count of sexual assault, according to the Detroit News.

This is all in response to a 1996 aggravated sexual assault indictment after an alleged assault in South Padre Island, Texas, on spring break, when Patricia was a 21-year-old student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Patricia and the entire Lions organization have vigorously defended the coach's innocence, even though Lions leadership reportedly didn't know about the incident until they were contacted by a reporter asking about it.

"I was falsely accused of something I did not do".

"I've interviewed for a lot of jobs", Patricia said.

Asked if he had had consensual sex with the accuser, he replied: "I did nothing wrong and that's all I'm going to say on the matter". Wood said the Lions had not employed that firm for their background check.

It is. Is it surprising that Patricia, 43, could work 14 years with the Patriots and get hired by the Lions without the incident ever coming up? "I'm not really educated on the whole topic right now".

Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford, general manager Bob Quinn and president Rod Wood were at Thursday's news conference but did not speak. He said he was falsely accused of some serious allegations and while he is thankful on one level that the process worked and the case was dismissed, he was never given the opportunity to defend himself. Based upon everything we have learned, we believe and have accepted Coach Patricia's explanation and we will continue to support him. Quinn had enormous trust in Patricia from their 12 years together in New England, and you wonder if that kept him from fully vetting Patricia's past. "There were claims made about me that never happened. We have always been confident in Matt's character and recommended him highly to become the head coach of the Detroit Lions".

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