The downfall of disgusting sexual predator Harvey Weinstein was a signal that hypocrites like him would face justice.
The hunt for other sexual predators hiding in plain sight ensnared some true monsters, but arguably went too far in some instances.
Now one NFL coach’s career could be ruined based on a decades-old sexual assault allegation.
The Detroit Lions recently hired New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to be their new head coach.
This was Patricia’s first head-coaching opportunity, so he had never previously been thoroughly vetted.
Under increased scrutiny, a 22-year-old rape allegation against Patricia was uncovered. Charges were filed against Patricia and another man, but the case was ultimately dropped.
More details have come out in the 1996 sexual assault case against new Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia, specifically the makeup of the prosecution’s list of witnesses against the 43-year-old.
According to court documents obtained by the Detroit Free Press, the witness list included a nurse, doctor, police detective, police officer and college friend of the alleged victim. Accounts from the five helped lead to an indictment by a grand jury of Patricia and college friend Greg Dietrich on charges of aggravated sexual assault, but the charges were ultimately dismissed 10 months after the incident when the victim decided she couldn’t take the stress.
In The Detroit News’ story that brought the charges to light, Patricia and Dietrich were accused by a 21-year-old college student of bursting into her hotel room and taking turns sexually assaulting her during spring break in 1996 at South Padre Island, Texas.
The whole episode is currently under review by the NFL. Patricia and the entire Lions organization have vigorously defended the coach’s innocence, even though Lions leadership reportedly didn’t know about the incident until they were contacted by a reporter asking about it.
“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. I firmly maintain my innocence, as I have always done,” Patricia said in a statement released by the Lions.
Patricia’s former boss Bill Belichick also supported the man who worked under him as an assistant coach for 13 years, saying that while the New England Patriots were not aware of the charges, Patricia conducted himself with “great integrity” during his time in New England.
Patricia maintains his innocence and the law affords him a presumption of innocence, but the NFL is still investigating the incident from 1996, and there could be increased pressure to take action in light of the current #MeToo climate.
Thus far, Patricia has avoided any punishment, but the NFL is no stranger to handing down draconian suspensions without any legal convictions.
If anything truly vile from the 1996 allegations comes to the surface, Patricia will find his head-coaching career over before it starts.