NFL to review Matt Patricia's dismissed 1996 sexual assault case

The NFL said it will review Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia and the dismissed 1996 sexual assault case that was uncovered by the Detroit News on Wednesday.

The News reported that Patricia was indicted but did not face trial after the alleged victim declined to testify. The victim, then a 21-year-old college student, claimed that during spring break at South Padre Island in Texas, two football players from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute sexually assaulted her. One of the accused players was Patricia. He denied any wrongdoing in a statement on Wednesday night.

Team president Rod Wood and owner Martha Ford were not aware of the case when asked about it by reporters, despite saying they did a background check on Patricia. 

“We will review the matter with the club to understand the allegations and what the club has learned,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy wrote in a statement to the Detroit Free Press on Thursday

Patricia met with the media on Thursday and said he never brought it up during his interview with the team because he was innocent and the case was dismissed.  Patricia again said Thursday he was falsely accused. In regards to any questions about his job security, Patricia said he was “100 percent” the coach of the Lions.

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ALLEN PARK, MI - FEBRUARY 07: Matt Patricia speaks at a press conference after being hired as the head coach of the Detroit Lions at the Detroit Lions Practice Facility on February 7, 2018 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia looks at a play card in the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
ALLEN PARK, MI - FEBRUARY 07: Matt Patricia speaks at a press conference after being hired as the head coach of the Detroit Lions at the Detroit Lions Practice Facility on February 7, 2018 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
ALLEN PARK, MI - FEBRUARY 07: Matt Patricia speaks at a press conference after being hired as the head coach of the Detroit Lions at the Detroit Lions Practice Facility on February 7, 2018 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: New England Patriots' defensive coordinator Matt Patricia reacts during the second quarter. The New England Patriots host the Jacksonville Jaguars in an NFL AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA on Jan. 21, 2018. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 17: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, chats with defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, right, during practice at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Jan. 17, 2018. The Patriots prepare for the AFC championship game against Jacksonville. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia, answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on February 28, 2018 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 28: Detroit Lions head coach matt Patricia leaves the final meetings at the 2018 NFL Annual Meetings at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Great Lakes on March 28, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia, answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on February 28, 2018 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 07: New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia reacts on the sideline during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium on September 7, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 19: New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia watches a replay during the NFL preseason game between the New England Patriots and the Houston Texans on August 19, 2017 at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
BOSTON - FEBRUARY 7: Matt Patricia, left, holds up a Lombardi Trophy and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick waves during the New England Patriots Super Bowl LI Victory Parade in Boston on Feb. 7, 2017. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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“I’m here to defend my honor and clear my name. 22 years ago, I was falsely accused of something very serious, very serious allegations,” Patricia said Thursday. “There were claims made about me that never happened. While I’m thankful on one level that the process worked and the case was dismissed, at the same time I was never given the opportunity to defend myself or to allow to push back with the truth to clear my name.

“This was something that was very traumatic to me when I was 21 years old. And once it was finally addressed, I tried to put it behind me. For those of you that are just getting to know me, and those who have known me for a long time, you should know that I was raised the right way by two amazing parents who taught me to know the difference between right and wrong, to stand up for what’s right and to stand up for those who have been wronged.

“I have two older sisters that taught me respect and love. I have always tried to protect them and keep them from harm. I’m a husband and a father to a wonderful and amazing family. I try to share those same values with them. I’m so thankful to my wife and my family for being supportive of me.”

Patricia portrayed himself as the party who was wronged. Patricia wouldn’t address specifics of what happened that night 22 years ago, repeatedly saying he did nothing wrong and was accused of something he didn’t do.

“Thankfully, truth is on my side,” Patricia said. “I lived with the mental torture of a situation where facts can be completely ignored or misrepresented with disregard to the consequence and pain it would cause for another person. I find it unfair and upsetting that someone would bring this claim up over two decades later for the sole purpose of hurting my family, my friends and this organization with the intention of trying to damage my character and credibility.

“I was innocent then, and I’m innocent now.”

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Frank Schwabis a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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