1996 Sexual Allegation Resurfaces for Lions Head Coach
An allegation of sexual assault from 1996 has resurfaced for Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia Wednesday evening. Patricia has maintained his innocence with full support of the team.
According to the Detroit News, 22 years ago Patricia and a friend were indicted by a Texas grand jury on one count each of aggravated sexual assault. The alleged incident occurred on South Padre Island. The alleged victim did not testify and the case was dismissed.
Patricia made a statement that was issued by the Lions that said:
As someone who was falsely accused of this very serious charge over 22 years ago, and never given the opportunity to defend myself and clear my name, I find it incredibly unfair, disappointing, and frustrating that this story would resurface now with the only purpose being to damage my character and reputation. I firmly maintain my innocence, as I have always done.
After firing Jim Caldwell as coach last season, the Lions hired Patricia as the new head coach. Patricia previously served as an assistant coach for the New England Patriots before coming to the Lions.
During the hiring process of Patricia, the Lions did do a standard pre-employment background check that did not find any information on the alleged incident. The Lions are standing behind Patricia.
The Lions statement on behalf of Martha Firestone Ford, general manager Bob Quinn and president Rod Wood said,
We have spoken to Coach Patricia about this at length as well as the attorney who represented him at the time and based upon everything we have learned, we believe and have accepted Coach Patricia's explanation and we will continue to support him.