Detroit Lions owner, front office ‘continue to support’ coach Matt Patricia amid ’96 sexual-assault allegation


Detroit Lions proprietor Martha Ford, workforce president Rod Wooden and basic supervisor Bob Quinn launched a joint assertion late Wednesday expressing help for head coach Matt Patricia after a sexual assault cost in opposition to him from 22 years in the past resurfaced in a Detroit Information story.

Patricia, in an accompanying assertion, denied the accusation, made by a lady whereas each have been college students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on spring break in South Padre Island, Texas, in 1996.

“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,” Patricia mentioned within the assertion. “I firmly preserve my innocence, as I’ve all the time performed. I might by no means condone any of the habits that was alleged and can all the time respect and shield the rights of anybody who has been harassed or is the sufferer of violence.

“My priorities stay the identical — to maneuver ahead and attempt to be the very best coach, trainer, and man that I can probably be.”

The joint assertion from the workforce’s management learn, partly, that the cost in opposition to Patricia “was dismissed by the prosecutor on the request of the complaining particular person previous to trial. In consequence, Coach Patricia by no means had the chance to current his case or clear his identify publicly in a court docket of legislation. He has denied that there was any factual foundation for the cost. There was no settlement settlement with the complaining particular person, no cash exchanged fingers and there was no confidentiality settlement. In discussions as we speak with Lions administration, the reporter concerned acknowledged that the allegations haven’t been substantiated.

“As an organization, the Detroit Lions take allegations regarding sexual assault or harassment seriously. Coach Patricia was the subject of a standard pre-employment background check which did not disclose this issue. We have spoken to Coach Patricia about this at length as well as the attorney who represented him at the time. Based upon everything we have learned, we believe and have accepted Coach Patricia’s explanation and we will continue to support him. We will continue to work with our players and the NFL to further awareness of and protections for those individuals who are the victims of sexual assault or violence.”

Prices have been filed within the case, and Patricia and his pal, Greg Dietrich, have been indicted by a grand jury of 1 rely of aggravated sexual assault, however they have been by no means tried within the case.

Wooden informed the Detroit Information that he and Quinn weren’t conscious of the allegation in Patricia’s previous once they employed him. He later informed the newspaper that he was “comfortable” with Patricia on employees.

“I am very comfortable with the process of interviewing and employing Matt,” Wooden informed the Information. “I will tell you with 1,000 percent certainty that everything I’ve learned confirmed what I already knew about the man and would have no way changed our decision to make him our head coach.”

The Information reported that APG Safety, a personal investigation agency with company headquarters in South Amboy, New Jersey, and workplaces in 21 states together with Texas, requested the court docket recordsdata for Patricia’s case in January. It isn’t clear whether or not the Lions contracted the agency to run a background verify on Patricia or another person did.

The Information reported that the case in opposition to Patricia and Dietrich fell aside when the alleged sufferer didn’t reply to makes an attempt to contact her within the weeks following the incident and determined she wouldn’t testify.

As of Wednesday evening, Patricia, 43, was scheduled to speak with the media Thursday earlier than the Lions open their rookie minicamp this weekend.

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