ibusinesslines.com August 19, 2018

Bill Belichick Backs Matt Patricia Amid Resurfaced Sexual Assault Case

11 May 2018, 10:21 | Jodi Jackson

Detroit Lions officials said that they were not aware of dismissed sexual assault charges from 1996 against new head coach Matt Patricia. More

Detroit Lions officials said that they were not aware of dismissed sexual assault charges from 1996 against new head coach Matt Patricia. More

Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia had his first opportunity to speak publicly about his 1996 sexual assault charge Thursday, and he took it.

A grand jury indicted Patricia and his friend, Greg Dietrich, on one count of aggravated sexual assault, which carries a maximum sentence of up to life in prison in Texas. Patricia never faced trial after the alleged victim declined to testify.

And when the team released statements later Wednesday night backing Patricia - one from Patricia himself and a joint statement from owner Martha Firestone Ford, general manager Bob Quinn and Wood - none of them mentioned the accuser recanting her story. Meanwhile, Patricia maintained his innocence in a statement released Wednesday night and again at his press conference Thursday.

When asked about it, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said the team was not aware of Patricia's 1996 sexual assault indictment before he was hired. Belichick also praised Patricia for being an "outstanding person, coach and family man". "We have always been confident in Matt's character and recommended him highly to become the head coach of the Detroit Lions".

"I'm here to defend my honor and clear my name", Patricia said.

Patricia went on to say that he didn't condone "any of the type of behavior that has been alleged". "So, it just has never been a part of any process that I've been involved with before".

Patricia discussed the issue during a almost 10-minute presser saying that he wanted to "clear his name" and saying what happened in 1996 "very traumatic to me" and also saying that "there were claims made about me that never happened".

"As far as the interview process is concerned", Patricia said, "there was nothing that, and Rod had spoke to it earlier, about the process, there was nothing that I did not answer".

"In these times, we need to be even more sensitive and responsible in dealing with this issues and separate right from wrong".

An NFL spokesman said Thursday the league "will review the matter with the club to understand the allegations and what the club has learned".

Patricia strongly denied any wrongdoing, saying in a statement and in a news conference that he had been "falsely accused".

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