<
>

Lions, Matt Patricia not subject to discipline over 1996 sexual assault allegation

play
Patricia, Lions won't be subject to discipline (0:46)

Adam Schefter reports that the NFL won't discipline the Lions and Matt Patricia over a previous sexual assault allegation against Patricia. (0:46)

The NFL determined that neither the Lions nor Matt Patricia will be subject to any discipline in regard to a previous sexual assault allegation against the Detroit coach, league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement Monday.

McCarthy said the Lions were not at fault for not learning about Patricia's 1996 arrest during the interview process and that Patricia, 43, would not be disciplined for not letting his arrest be known to the club.

"Our office reviewed the matter with the Lions and Mr. Patricia, and ensured the club engaged in appropriate and thorough hiring practices and that the Coach did not mislead the team during the interview process," McCarthy said in his statement. "We determined that the Lions handled the interview process in a thoughtful and comprehensive manner and fully and appropriately complied with all applicable employment laws. As we learned from both Mr. Patricia and the Lions, the matter was not part of his employment interview process for job opportunities outside of or within the NFL."

The situation is not subject to the personal conduct policy, as the allegations occurred well before Patricia's affiliation with the NFL.

Patricia was accused of one count of sexually assaulting a woman in South Padre Island, Texas, during spring break in 1996. Patricia emphatically denied the accusation after it was reported earlier this month, and Lions owner Martha Ford, team president Rod Wood and general manager Bob Quinn released a joint statement expressing support for Patricia.

"The truth is on my side," Patricia said in a news conference on May 10. "I lived with the mental torture of the situation where facts can be completely ignored or misrepresented with disregard to the consequence and pain that it would create 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."

The indictment never went to trial, and the case was dismissed in January 1997, after the woman who made the accusation was "unable to testify and can not give a date certain when she will be available," according to the dismissal paperwork.

Wood said May 12 that the Lions followed the law in Patricia's hiring process.

"We always err on the side of hiring a firm who understands all the laws, follows them, state and federal," Wood told ESPN, "so that we don't happen upon something that we're not entitled to have nor would we be able to use."

ESPN's Adam Schefter and Michael Rothstein contributed to this report.