Lions Coach Matt Patricia Denies Sexual Assault Charge From 1996

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Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia addressed the media amid reports of a 1996 sexual assault case where he faced felony charges.

The alleged assault happened when he, 21, and Greg Dietrich, 22, were football players and Theta Chi fraternity brothers at Polytechnic Institute in upstate NY on South Padre Island during spring break in 1996. However, the woman declined to testify saying she didn't think she should "face the pressure and stress of a trial". While the victim could request the case be refiled at a later date, it has never been brought to trial.

Patricia made his comments Thursday behind a podium bearing the Lions logo with team owner Martha Ford, team president Rod Wood and general manager Bob Quinn sitting off to the side.

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

In a statement issued by the Lions, Patricia said he was "falsely accused" and he found it "incredibly unfair, disappointing, and frustrating that this story would resurface now".

Patricia then fielded several questions - including one about what actually happened the night in question - and each time he made clear that he was innocent then and now, adding, "Again, I did nothing wrong and that's all I'm going to say on that matter".

Patricia stated Thursday during his press conference that the matter was never brought up in any of his job interviews, even ones that took place much closer to the arrest. "To move forward and strive to be the best teacher, coach, and man that I can possibly be". He has denied that there was any factual basis for the charge. "I feel very confident that Matt's the right head coach for the Detroit Lions". The team also noted that the coach and the accuser had not reached a settlement or a confidentiality agreement. He worked at Hoffman Air & Filtration Systems in East Syracuse before landing a job as an assistant coach at Syracuse University, eventually working his way up to the National Football League and winning three Super Bowls as defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots. In discussions (Wednesday) with Lions management, the reporter involved acknowledged that the allegations have not been substantiated.

In recent years, the N.F.L., as part of its personal conduct policy, has increasingly punished its players for incidents that occur off the field, such as domestic violence.

BC-FBN-Lions-Patricia, 147Lions" Patricia says he was "falsely accused' of assaultAP Photo MICO102, MICO101, MICO103, MICO104Eds: APNewsNow.

The Lions' brass said the incident was not disclosed in a "standard pre-employment background check", though it didn't seem hard to dig up by Thursday.