When news broke about Matt Patricia’s indictment for a sexual assault allegation 22 years ago, it brought on a lot of questions about the Detroit Lions, what they knew and what Patricia should have disclosed.
What hadn’t been discussed as often is if the New England Patriots, who had employed Patricia since 2004, knew anything.
In a statement Thursday afternoon, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said the team was unaware of the allegation from 1996. Patricia never faced trial after the alleged victim declined to testify.
“The New England Patriots were not aware of the matter which recently came to light,” Belichick said in a statement, via the Detroit News. “For 14 years in our organization, Matt conducted himself with great integrity and is known to be an outstanding coach, person 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.”
Patricia had been the Patriots’ defensive coordinator since 2012, before he was hired as Lions head coach.
When Patricia held a news conference Thursday, he said he has never lied about the allegation. He said he didn’t bring it up in his Lions interview because he says he was falsely accused and the case was dismissed. When asked if he has ever been asked about it during any job interview, he said it has “never been part of any process he has been involved with before.”
“I started interviewing for jobs 22 years ago, in a time where one year after this incident happened, where I interviewed and these situations never came up, were never asked, and it was never an issue,” Patricia said. “So through the course of my career, as again, like I said, the case was dismissed and I am innocent, so as I went through those times it has never been an issue.”
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