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Lions coach Matt Patricia denies 1996 assault allegation

MATT PATRICIA PRESS CONFERENCE.jpg
Lions coach Matt Patricia denies 1996 assault allegation.{ } (FILE - WWMT File from the press conference held when Patricia was named head coach of the Lions)

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia is maintaining his innocence after a 1996 sexual assault allegation against him resurfaced Wednesday night.

The Detroit News reported that Patricia and a friend of his were indicted 22 years ago by a Texas grand jury, on one count each of aggravated sexual assault for an alleged incident involving a woman on South Padre Island. The accuser did not testify and the case was dismissed 10 months later.

In a statement issued by the Lions, Patricia said he was "falsely accused" and he found it "incredibly unfair, disappointing, and frustrating that this story would resurface now."

The Lions hired Patricia after last season to replace Jim Caldwell as coach. They said a pre-employment background check didn't disclose the incident, but they believe Patricia's explanation and support him.