Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Bill Belichick Backs Matt Patricia Amid Resurfaced Sexual Assault Case

Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine Wednesday Feb. 28 2018 in Indianapolis Lions support new head coach Patricia after team misses sexual assault charge
Troy Mann | 11 May, 2018, 22:22

According to the indictment received by ESPN on Thursday, Patricia allegedly had sexual intercourse without the woman's consent and he and his friend, Gregory Dietrich, "compelled the victim to submit and participate by the use of physical force and violence".

"Victim is unable to testify and cannot give a date certain when she will be available", the dismissal reads.

The Lions said they were not aware of the allegation when interviewing and hiring Patricia.

"We have spoken to Coach Patricia about this at length as well as the attorney who represented him at the time", the statement read.

"I find it unfair and upsetting that someone would bring this claim up over two decades later for the sole goal of hurting my family, my friends and (the Lions') organization with the intention of trying to damage my character and credibility", Patricia said during a news conference.

The charge stemmed from an allegation against Patricia when he was in college in 1996. He began his coaching career with the Patriots as an offensive assistant in 2004. "And again, interviewing for jobs in engineering, right after the situation happened, it was never an issue, it never came up in anything because it was dismissed, and I was innocent".

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"I'm innocent then, and I'm innocent now", said Patricia. "There were claims made about me that never happened".

The Lions said Wednesday night that a pre-employment background check did not turn up the incident. The case has never been brought to trial. He would not say whether he was in the hotel room with the alleged victim or whether the two had consensual sex on the night in question. The case was dismissed five months later, in January 1997.

Indictments have to be based on some level of evidence of the crime, though it can be loose evidence that does not at all suggest that the defendant is actually guilty.

Patricia took a few questions but did not provide details about the day in question.

Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford, general manager Bob Quinn and president Rod Wood were at Thursday's news conference but did not speak.

"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 objective being to damage my character and reputation", the statement read.

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