Report: Matt Patricia indicted but not tried for sexual assault in 1996

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The hiring of Lions coach Matt Patricia carries with it a surprising new caveat that, depending on the manner in which the dominoes fall, could threaten to end his tenure before it even really begins.

According to Robert Snell of the Detroit News, Patricia was indicted for sexual assault in 1996.

Both Patricia, then 21, and Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute teammate and fraternity brother Greg Dietrich, then 22, were charged by a grand jury with one count of aggravated sexual assault. They allegedly burst into the hotel room of a 21-year-old woman while on spring break at South Padre Island, Texas and “took turns violently sexual assaulting her.”

The case eventually was dismissed in January 1997, because the alleged victim did “not feel she can face the pressures or stress of a trial.”

One of the lawyers who represented Patricia at the time claims that the assault didn’t occur.

“In my opinion, it was a fabrication,” Jeff Wilson told Snell. “I’m telling you it was a ‘he said, she said.’ I don’t know what type of problems the girl was having; I don’t know why she made that allegation. We vehemently denied that he was doing anything wrong or did anything wrong.”

On one hand, that’s what a lawyer is supposed to say. On the other hand, false accusations do indeed happen.

But while the case was the subject of news reports and public records in the early days of the Internet, it appears that the Lions didn’t know about the allegations when hiring Patricia. According to Snell, team president Rod Wood initially said, “I don’t know anything about this.” Wood later provided a statement of support for Patricia and the manner in which he was hired.

“I am very comfortable with the process of interviewing and employing Matt,” Wood told Snell. “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.”

That may be the case, but what if this allegation had emerged during the period of time between the firing of Jim Caldwell and the hiring of Patricia? Could the Lions (who seemed in hindsight to be destined to hire Patricia from the moment Bob Quinn became G.M.) have followed through with the hiring of Patricia if this story had emerged before he was announced as the head coach?

This isn’t a matter of legal guilt or innocence; it’s a matter of league and team P.R. in the era of the #MeToo movement. Ultimately, whether the Lions will be able to keep Patricia may depend in large part on the local and national reaction to the news. The story could quickly away, or it could snowball into a controversy that forces the Lions to make a change — even if, as a matter of basic contract law, the Lions most likely would be forced to pay Patricia every dollar of his four-year deal if they decide to fire him.

The Lions could decide to try to shut off Patricia’s right to a buyout, if they decide that they have no choice but to make a change. It’s possible, for example, that paperwork completed or other information submitted by Patricia when he got the job contemplated full disclosure of the indictment. If he failed to do so, that could be grounds for a so-called termination for cause.

Before it ever gets to that point, the Lions would have to conclude that it’s not practical to proceed with Patricia as the coach. And the league office, which has become ultra-sensitive to the public-relations consequences of allegations of violence against women, surely will take a position on what the Lions should do. That position definitely will be shaped by the extent to which it’s believed that the situation creates a P.R. problem for the league office.

85 responses to “Report: Matt Patricia indicted but not tried for sexual assault in 1996

  1. Always thought he looked like a total creeper. Bill let me see your cellphone, because you look like one too. Validated!

  2. If this is such a big deal, how did it not come out when he was with the Pats? Everybody loves a Patriots scandal…especially around the Super Bowl. Why now?

  3. Oops.

    Patricia SHOULD have disclosed this. He owes any club that might hire him a chance to accept the potential risk of the hire. The fact that he didn’t not only calls into question his character, it makes him seem far more likely to have been guilty.

    I’m a Packers fan, but I go to Detroit every other year and respect the organization, fans and the city…which is more tgan I can say for Matt Pratricia.

  4. Tough spot for the team. Never went to trial but still a big, ugly blackspot on his record. Seems like he did a good job of keeping it quiet all these years.

    The lawyer coming out and saying it didn’t hapoen is a mistake too. If the girl wants to come out of the shadows and give her side of the story as a result of the lawyer calling her a liar, it’s curtain calls for Matt.

  5. They better just fire him. He was a garbage DC who allowed backup Nick Foles to destroy them and win SB MVP. Now the truth comes out that he’s a garbage human being too? Of course BB and Kraft knew about this, but now they seem to be on the same level as Jerry Jones and Marvin Lewis as far as who they allow to work for them.

  6. Tuck rule, Carolinas out of bounds kick off, TO’s broken leg, Malcolm Butler’s fluke, Matt Ryan taking a sack when FG seals it, Two Giant wins as #6 seed and 9-7 division champ. 0-7. You always got 1 or 2 seed playing in horrible division, and still lost 3 home playoff games in 4 years at Gillette.

  7. In Mich, Patricia is under no obligation to disclose an arrest that doesn’t lead to a conviction or plea agreement.

    In Mass, it is illegal for an employer to even ask about an arrest that doesn’t lead to a conviction.

    Patricia should be protected.

  8. “It’s possible, for example, that paperwork completed or other information submitted by Patricia when he got the job contemplated full disclosure of the indictment. If he failed to do so, that could be grounds for a so-called termination for cause.”

    Isn’t it generally illegal to inquire about anything other than convictions in the hiring process? Unless there’s something in the coach’s CBA about disclosing arrests?

  9. I’m sure the league office bears no grudges against Matt Patricia and will be completely neutral about this.

  10. Elliot got 6 games, wasn’t charged or indicted. Seems to me a coach should be held to a higher standard.

  11. Sad that a reporter had to dig back 20+ years looking for nothing but dirt. It was spring break while he was in college. It seems like a woman crying rape maybe for reasons unknown (regret maybe) but for whatever reasons, she recanted her statement and He was free of all charges. He was never given the chance to clear his name. In this great country we lost something. Innocent until proven otherwise…Sad.

  12. “This isn’t a matter of legal guilt or innocence; it’s a matter of league and team P.R. in the era of the #MeToo movement.”

    And that pretty much sums up how scary these accusations can be. God help the man who is actually innocent.

  13. As a Minnesota Vikings fan forever I hate the Detroit Lions (nothing personal), but man the bad luck this team has makes you feel sorry for them. Seems like Matthew Stafford just got there and in a short while he’ll be retiring like Barry Sanders with absolutely nothing to show for it. Now the “head” coach is in trouble and the Lions always seem to be in the market for a new head coach-so sad………….. for the Lions and the girl..

  14. Good thing the court of public opinion/social media doesn’t need pesky things like rule of law or empirical evidence. Taking emotional auguries is more than sufficient.

  15. Going to have to err on the side of Patricia on this one. Yes, it is quite possible that the sexual assault occurred – however, it never went to trial. “Victim” can’t face the pressures or stresses of a trial – is that guilt from knowing the accusation is false? The time to prosecute the man was IN COURT – not over 20 years later when it’s still possible that the whole thing was a false accusation.

    When I was in the Air Force, I held the highest security clearance (and no, it wasn’t “NATO Cosmic Top Secret” – it was TS/SCI (compartmentalized intel) – and, the point is, I don’t know if the paperwork for that clearance would have caught this incident. It’s all in the wording – arrested – indicted – charged – found guilty – jailed – what words are used? Sure, one can KNOW that they SHOULD divulge information – but…if they are not asking the “correct” way…one CAN be a weasel…. (I was painfully honest on my clearance info, btw.)

    The reason I used “NATO Cosmic Top Secret” above is because all of the UFO honks on youtube love to say that they had this clearance and it’s the highest that there is – THAT….is a LIE. It SOUNDS like a high clearance – it isn’t.

  16. The general rule is that they’re probably guilty … unless it’s your team.

  17. Sorry Lions fans but you are now seeing just a glimpse of the salty mountains of hate that flood every Patriots thread.

  18. No Wonder why the Patriots got rid of him. They are a class organization and the Lions only care about winning. Good luck Detroit. There is no way this issue is going to sleep.

  19. tigersfandan says:
    May 10, 2018 at 12:36 am
    I’m sure the league office bears no grudges against Matt Patricia and will be completely neutral about this.

    Yeah. I mean the league has always been neutral when it comes to stuff like this. And know that Roger Goddell is in charge, we all know this will be neutral and be fair

  20. So there are several comments on here saying let’s here more evidence before we convict blah blah blah and those posts get thumbs down? My bet, clueless patriot fanboys who think every strike against their team or one of their team members is a conspiracy

  21. Anyone that is merely accused of this sort of thing shouldn’t have his life ruined if it goes no further than the accusation.

  22. kd75 says:
    May 10, 2018 at 12:16 am
    In Mich, Patricia is under no obligation to disclose an arrest that doesn’t lead to a conviction or plea agreement.

    In Mass, it is illegal for an employer to even ask about an arrest that doesn’t lead to a conviction.

    Patricia should be protected.

    You don’t know much about the law do you? He should not be “protected.” There is nothing in the law that says he should be “protected.” That people weren’t supposed to ask (and clearly they didn’t) doesn’t preclude the possibility that the information will come out and become public (which is clearly did). And then employers can make a decision based on what they feel is right for the organization.

    He wasn’t found not guilty. A grand jury thought there was enough to convict, and then the victim decided she didn’t want to go through with a trial, which happens quite often in cases of sexual assault. This is a bad look for the Lions, not because they did anything wrong by not discovering it prior to hire, but because a grand jury thought enough of the case to indict. He wasn’t an up and coming college player looking to be drafted so no payday/blackmail thing going on. Something happened, it wasn’t good, and now the Lions have a decision to make.

  23. “I used “NATO Cosmic Top Secret” above is because all of the UFO honks on youtube love to say that they had this clearance and it’s the highest that there is – THAT….is a LIE. It SOUNDS like a high clearance – it isn’t.”

    I’m pretty sure the UFO types would say the reason you don’t know about such a clearance is because you didn’t have it. (J/k)

    I tend to say that facts need to considered before judging someone accused of something. But in this case he was indicted, which normally is a step well beyond a simple “she said” allegation. Assuming the prosecutor is not corrupt or unethical (and not many are), this means he/she AND the grand jury had to think the evidence was strong.

  24. tigersfandan says:
    May 10, 2018 at 12:36 am
    I’m sure the league office bears no grudges against Matt Patricia and will be completely neutral about this.

    How could the league have a grudge against a guy who ran the 29th ranked defense and gave up 538 yards (including 164 on the ground) and 41 points in the Super Bowl? If there was truly a conspiracy against the Pats I would think they would be cheering him on.

    But this isn’t a league issue. It’s a Lions issue. The league can’t impose discipline on someone who wasn’t in the league at the time of the alleged infraction (possible exception if I recall is when a player is suspended by the NCAA and then declares for the draft to avoid it). This is a Lions issue and making a decision as to whether the optics are bad enough to risk keeping him around. And that, coming from one who employs thousands of people, is a legitimate question.

  25. I’m I the only one that thinks it’s odd this never came out while he was with the Pats? Makes me wonder Der who really leaked this story.

  26. From the official police report; “The only physical evidence was a strange set of smudges and light punctures on the victim’s face, similar to a #2 pencil. Given the oddity and inconsistency of the marks compared to a sexual assualt, the report is being downgraded to improbable”.

  27. Open season on men of notoriety!! And the witch hunt rolls on unimpeded…

    22 years ago…a finger was pointed, but the accuser wasn’t willing to stand behind her claims.

    Now this…smh.

    Look, I love throwing shade at the Patsies as much as the nxt internet hater…but this REEKS of a character assassination or some sort of personal vendetta.

  28. Not only did he get embarrassed by a 2nd string QB in the Superbowl, he also has payback coming for him from the 90’s……what a huge mess! Detroit really screwed up wasting away another year or multiple on this guy.

  29. TruFBFan says:
    May 10, 2018 at 7:43 am
    kd75 says:
    May 10, 2018 at 12:16 am
    In Mich, Patricia is under no obligation to disclose an arrest that doesn’t lead to a conviction or plea agreement.

    In Mass, it is illegal for an employer to even ask about an arrest that doesn’t lead to a conviction.

    Patricia should be protected.

    You don’t know much about the law do you? He should not be “protected.” There is nothing in the law that says he should be “protected.” That people weren’t supposed to ask (and clearly they didn’t) doesn’t preclude the possibility that the information will come out and become public (which is clearly did). And then employers can make a decision based on what they feel is right for the organization.

    He wasn’t found not guilty. A grand jury thought there was enough to convict, and then the victim decided she didn’t want to go through with a trial, which happens quite often in cases of sexual assault. This is a bad look for the Lions, not because they did anything wrong by not discovering it prior to hire, but because a grand jury thought enough of the case to indict. He wasn’t an up and coming college player looking to be drafted so no payday/blackmail thing going on. Something happened, it wasn’t good, and now the Lions have a decision to make.

    ———————————-
    “You don’t know much about the law do you?”

    FOLLOWED UP WITH:

    “A grand jury thought there was enough to convict…”

    You call someone else out for not knowing the law and then you proceed to saying something that couldn’t be further from the truth.

    First, a Grand Jury indictment doesn’t need to be unanimous whereas a guilty verdict does. Second, a Grand Jury DOES NOT determine guilt. An indictment DOES NOT even mean the Grand Jury thinks that the suspect is guilty. An indictment means that the majority of those on the Grand Jury believe that there is Probable Cause that a crime has been committed by the suspect. That’s it.

    This should be universally understood, but if you’re not found guilty you are INNOCENT.

  30. One thing we do know – the media is going to try to find this person come hell or high water.

  31. Oh boy, the Twitteratti are simulatenously busting out their Jump to Conclusions mats.
    Yep, because false accusations weren’t discreditied at UVA or Duke, right?

  32. If it is “he said, she said” and if there is no physical evidence (such as semen, DNA or a rape kit), then there is no evidence since she did not want to testify. As some people point out, a skilled prosecutor can get a grand jury to indite a ham sandwich.

  33. The sad reality is that many prosecutors treat convictions as trophies and they brag about the number of convictions they have on their resume. Many people who did nothing wrong will plead guilty just to get out of jail because they cannot afford bail and sometimes they have to wait years for the trial to begin. That is why there is now a movement to reform the bail system, to make sure that poor people do not get forced into admitting to crimes they did not commit simply because that is the only hope they have of regaining their freedom when they cannot afford bail.

  34. Matty P should be in jail for negligence for forgetting to game plan for the superbowl. He’s lucky Brady choked and fumbled it away to take some of the attention off of him.

  35. metlifeteardown says:
    May 10, 2018 at 12:11 am
    “Tuck rule, Carolinas out of bounds kick off, TO’s broken leg, Malcolm Butler’s fluke, Matt Ryan taking a sack when FG seals it, Two Giant wins as #6 seed and 9-7 division champ. 0-7. You always got 1 or 2 seed playing in horrible division, and still lost 3 home playoff games in 4 years at Gillette.”
    How sad for you that you must pick at the Pat’s success. Other than the 2 fluke Giants SB wins they do basically nothing over the last 15 years.

  36. Three men entering someone’s hotel room by force and then taking turns sexually abusing that person dose not sound good.

  37. TruFBFan says
    “A grand jury thought there was enough to convict”
    No, the grand jury thought there was probable cause.
    “To return an indictment in Texas law, nine of 12 grand jurors must vote that probable cause exists that the defendants committed a crime.

    An indictment requires grand jurors find sufficient evidence to believe someone committed a crime, said Peter Henning, a Wayne State University law professor and former federal prosecutor.

    “It’s a fairly low standard,” Henning said. “It is certainly not proof that the person committed the crime. Especially if the evidence changes.””

  38. So here’s what your article very clearly (and correctly, I might add), laid out:

    A team can choose to fire (or if they’d known about this sooner, not hire) an individual basically because that individual comes with baggage that might cause fan uproar, fan anger, continuous controversy, continuous distraction and endless questions. That person would basically be a hire with great potential to “bad for business,” so they are not hired or they are fired. The individual could be pretty good at what he does, but that does not matter: his skill at the job does not outweigh the “bad for business” part of the equation.

    I hope you’re taking notes on this for your next Kaepernick article.

  39. and, of course, I will be a responsible journalist, which I am, and say, I don’t have any idea if this is true or not. The optimist in me wants to say he’s innocent.

  40. Sounds horrible and the sexual assault may have happened, but according to the justice system he isn’t guilty, but over 20 yrs later just the accusation against him is tarnishing his name whether he did this or not. They need to make sure that when we have cases like this the person making the accusation needs to follow through the legal process of getting the accused prosecuted, because if not they may be the actual perpetrator tarnishing someones name for whatever reason with false accusations which should be criminal in itself. It could be possible that the woman refused to testify is because if she was lying and Patricia’s attorneys interrogate her and make her testify her story may have more holes than Swiss Cheese.

  41. Any woman who has an issue with you for anything can throw out an accusation and ruin a man’s life…

  42. If you “investigate” long enough you should be able to find all kinds of garbage on almost anyone. Geez, it was over 20 years ago. Same issue as the Josh Allen twitter story. Pathetic…

  43. This is not a case of someone just throwing an accusation out there because they want to ruin someones reputation. The article points out that both Patricia and Dietrich were arrested on the night of the alleged assault and it is noted that that is rare in sexual assault cases. The fact that there was enough evidence for them to be indicted indicates that people thought it very possible an assault occurred. We don’t know what the evidence is and we will likely never know. Sexual assault victims often aren’t comfortable sharing their story publicly for many valid reasons. We’ll probably never find out what happened but this is going to be a huge distraction, and whether Detroit wants to deal with it or not is going to determine how long Patricia lasts.

  44. biggs13 says:

    May 9, 2018 at 11:52 pm

    Always thought he looked like a total creeper. Bill let me see your cellphone, because you look like one too. Validated!

    ==================================

    I don’t think that word means what you think it means… in fact, I know it doesn’t.. Validated!

  45. ninerfan81 says:

    May 10, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Just don’t touch a dog or protest social issues and you’ll be fine Matty boy.

    ======================

    ha, sad but true.

  46. At some point, the scrutiny needs to turn to the people who dig these kinds of things up.

    Sometimes, it’s justified. But a 22-year-old case that was never taken to trial and never had any more evidence than a claim made and then retracted?

    We need to have enough rational thought and perspective to say, “what was done is sufficient, and manufactured time-displaced outrage is irrational and unproductive”.

  47. #metoo movement has a mob mentality to it. There is something really wrong with having a press conference about a charge that was dropped a quarter century ago.

  48. TruFBFan says:
    May 10, 2018 at 7:43 am

    He wasn’t found not guilty. A grand jury thought there was enough to convict,
    ———————-
    No, a majority of the grand jury felt a preponderance of the evidence showed that he MAY have committed the crime. Thats a far lower standard than a trial jury unanimously agreeing beyond a reasonable doubt.

  49. Patriots seem to have had no problem with this. Oh, that’s right. They’re the Patriots!

  50. Patricia could end the speculation if he is truly innocent of this by submitting to a lie detector test… My guess is he was there.

  51. Could it be that Patricia didn’t have a mandated curfew by Belichick in 1996? Did Patricia grow the prodigious beard so as to not be identified after all these years? Where was McDaniels at the time, middle school? These and other juicy questions are sure to be answered on “As the Patriot’s World Turns”

  52. Not sure if he did this or not. But an indictment is a far cry from guilty. In the legal profession it is said that a District Attorney can indict a ham sandwich. It really does not take much as the testimony is one sided.

    That said, doesn’t mean he did or did not do the things alleged.

  53. “Three men entering someone’s hotel room by force and then taking turns sexually abusing that person dose not sound good.”

    If there is any truth to it. Since there wasn’t a trial we will never know.

  54. takeyourpunishmentandquitwhininglikeababy says:

    May 10, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    Patriots seem to have had no problem with this. Oh, that’s right. They’re the Patriots!

    ==================================

    Too bad its illegal in Massachusetts for an interviewer/employer to ask about charges that weren’t prosecuted.

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