Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia maintains innocence over alleged sexual assault

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"I would say I'm always trying to get better and the organization is always trying to get better", Wood said. Coach Patricia was the subject of a standard pre-employment background check which did not disclose this issue. In fact, I can say that I am different person mentally than I was four years ago when I was still in college.

Patricia, who was hired away as the defensive coordinator of the Patriots, claims he was falsely accused of the charges that led to an indictment on one count of aggravated sexual assault for an alleged incident involving a 21-year-old woman on South Padre Island (Texas) in 1996. She told police that she was sleeping in a friend's room at the Radisson hotel at about 6 p.m. when Patricia and Dietrich burst into the room and took turns assaulting her, the newspaper reported. The team said Patricia was 21 at the time and on spring break in Texas.

The case was dismissed in January 1997 after the woman withdrew her allegation, citing a reluctance to undergo the stress of a trial.

"I started interviewing for jobs 22 years ago", Patricia said.

"We will review the matter with the club to understand the allegations and what the club has learned", league spokesman Brian McCarthy wrote in a statement.

Patricia took a few questions but did not provide details about the day in question. 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 this organization with the intention of trying to damage my character and credibility. "I was falsely accused of something I didn't do".

"We have spoken to Coach Patricia about this at length as well as the attorney who represented him at the time", the Lions said in a statement attributed to owner Martha Firestone Ford, general manager Bob Quinn and president Rod Wood. Quinn had vast trust in Patricia from their 12 years together in New England, and you wonder if that kept him from fully vetting Patricia's past.

Before joining the Patriots, Patricia worked as a graduate assistant in 1996 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, his alma mater. Wood defended the firm used to background check Patricia, calling them "a well-regarded, national professional background screening company", though he declined to name them.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said the team wasn't aware of the legal case and expressed support for Patricia. "We have always been confident in Matt's character and recommended him highly to become the head coach of the Detroit Lions".