The lawsuit involves allegations against three current and former San Diego State football players, including Araiza — who starred for the Aztecs last season. The other men named in the complaint are Zavier Leonard, a redshirt freshman at San Diego State, and Nowlin Ewaliko, who was a freshman last season but is no longer on the listed roster.
The lawsuit accuses Araiza, 22, of having sex with the then-high school senior outside at an off-campus party before brining her inside a room where she was repeatedly raped, according to The Los Angeles Times. The lawsuit states that the minor went in and out of consciousness but remembers moments as the men took turns assaulting her, according to the Times.
Araiza’s lawyer, Kerry Armstrong, called the accusation false and told the Times his investigator spoke to witnesses from the party who contradict what is stated in the lawsuit.
“It’s a shakedown because he’s now with the Buffalo Bills,” Armstrong said. “There is no doubt in my mind that Matt Araiza ever raped that girl.”
A day after the party, the teen reported the rape to San Diego police, who opened up an investigation. No arrests have been made and the suspects had not been publicly identified, but detectives recently submitted their findings to the district attorney’s office to determine whether charges should be filed, according to the Times.
“This was a horrific crime, the kind of which happens all too often,” Dan Gilleon, the attorney who filed the lawsuit, said in a statement. “What makes these crimes different is not only that they were committed by self-entitled athletes. Just as awful as the crimes, for months, multiple organizations — SDSU, the San Diego Police Department, the San Diego District Attorney, and now the Buffalo Bills — have acted the part of enablers looking the other way in denial that my client deserves justice even if the defendants are prized athletes.”
Araiza, nicknamed the “Punt God” after setting NCAA records last season, was drafted by the Bills in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL draft. He was officially named the team’s starter over Matt Haack, the Bills’ punter last year Monday.
“We were recently made aware of a civil complaint involving Matt from October 2021,” the Bills said in a statement. “Due to the serious nature of the complaint, we conducted a thorough examination of this matter. As this is an ongoing civil case legal, we will have no other comment at this point.”