BOSTON (CBS) — On Wednesday, The Detroit News released a story detailing the 1996 arrest and indictment of Lions head coach Matt Patricia, stemming from accusations of sexual assault during a spring break trip to South Padre Island in Texas. The charges were dismissed several months after the arrest.

Patricia, who was an assistant coach for the Patriots for 14 years prior to getting the Lions’ head coaching job, vehemently maintained his innocence in a statement released Wednesday and in a press conference in front of the Detroit media on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick released the following statement on Patricia:

“The New England Patriots were not aware of the matter which recently came to light. For 14 years in our organization, Matt conducted himself with great integrity and is known to be an outstanding coach, person and family man.  We have always been confident in Matt’s character and recommended him highly to become the head coach of the Detroit Lions.”

Patricia stated Thursday during his press conference that the matter was never brought up in any of his job interviews, even ones that took place much closer to the arrest.

“The truth is on my side,” Patricia said. “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.

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