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Old 05-10-2018, 08:18 AM   #1
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Lions coach Matt Patricia denies 1996 sex assault allegation

Matt Patricia says he was falsely accused of sexual assault; Lions stand behind him

ALLEN PARK -- Matt Patricia is maintaining his innocence, and the Detroit Lions are standing behind him.

The Detroit News reported on Wednesday night that the new Lions coach was indicted on one count of aggravated sexual assault in 1996. But his accuser never showed for trial, citing the stress and pressures of doing so, and the case was dropped before it ever made it to trial.

Patricia says the allegations were false, and questioned why they would resurface more than 22 years later.

"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," he said in a written statement issued through the team. "I firmly maintain my innocence, as I have always done."

The charge stems from a spring break trip to South Padre Island in 1996. Patricia was 21 years old at the time, and still an offensive lineman and aeronautical engineering student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

A woman alleged Patricia and a teammate, Greg Dietrich, took turns violently sexually assaulting her after barging into her hotel room. Both men were arrested, charged and eventually indicted by a grand jury on one count of aggravated sexual assault.

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