The Matt Patricia Fallout: How Could the Lions Not Know?

With additional reporting by Albert Breer, Conor Orr and Kalyn Kahler

Joe and Gail King heard about it Thursday morning, when a family friend called to ask if they had seen the news. The Detroit News published a story late Wednesday night detailing a sexual assault accusation made against Matt Patricia, the new head coach of the Detroit Lions and perhaps the most famous person to ever come through Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s football program, where Joe King was head coach for more than two decades.

“I was amazed,” King said by phone Thursday. “I’m going to be honest with you, I never heard anything about it, which is kind of hard to believe. … This is the first I’ve heard of it. Honest to God.”

The incident in question occurred in the spring of 1996, toward the end of Patricia’s senior year of college. Patricia and a friend, Greg Dietrich, were on a spring-break trip to South Padre Island in Texas. A 21-year-old woman alleged that the two of them broke into her room and sexually assaulted her. In August, 1996, a grand jury indicted Patricia and Dietrich each on one charge of aggravated sexual assault. But the charges were dropped in January 1997 when the accuser did not show up for court. A court document included the hand-written note: “Victim

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