According to a report, three members of the 2021 San Diego State football team, including punter Matt Araiza, are formally accused of raping a 17-year-old girl at an off-campus party last year.
A civil lawsuit filed Thursday in San Diego County Superior Court says Araiza, a sixth-round draft pick by the Buffalo Bills in 2022, had sex with the minor outside the home where the party was held before bringing her inside and taking her to a room where several men raped and beat her.
Two Former SDSU Teammates Accused Of Raping 17-Year-Old In Lawsuit
The accuser, who is now 18, says she remembers being raped and beaten by several men. The lawsuit also names offensive lineman Zavier Leonard, who is currently a redshirt freshman entering the ’22 season, and former defensive lineman Nowlin “Pa’a” Ewaliko, who was a rising sophomore but left school after last season.
The reports that attorneys for Ewaliko and Leonard, Marc Xavier Carlos and Jamahl Kersey, declined to say anything about the lawsuit and that they are still reviewing the complaint.
Kerry Armstrong, Araiza’s attorney, told The Times that the allegations were false, although he had not yet seen the lawsuit. He said one of his investigators had spoken to witnesses who said the allegations against his client were false.
Armstrong said, “It’s an upheaval because he’s with the Buffalo Bills now.” “There’s no doubt in my mind that Matt Araiza raped that girl”.
The Times has court documents that show the off-campus party began on Oct. 16 and the assault occurred early on Oct. 17. In the complaint, the minor said she and her friends had already been drinking when they arrived at the party and that Matt Araiza, who was a junior and living in the house at the time, gave her a drink that she believes “contained not only alcohol but other intoxicating substances.”
The complaint states that she told Matt Araiza she was in high school, but he took her outside anyway and asked her to perform oral sex before having sex with her, even though he knew she was very drunk. Matt Araiza then allegedly took her to a bedroom where Leonard, Ewaliko, and at least one other man were, and threw her face-first onto the bed.
The complaint says the teen was then raped for an hour and a half until the party ended. The report also says she said she saw what looked like the light from a cell phone during the whole thing. After the attack was over, she “eventually stumbled out of the room crying and covered in blood.” According to the lawsuit, her nose, belly button, and ear piercings had been ripped out, and she was also bleeding from her vagina.
The lawsuit further states that the plaintiff told her friends she had been raped, contacted police about five hours after the incident, and went to a hospital for a thorough rape examination. Police also allegedly recorded the plaintiff’s conversations with the men named in the lawsuit, who “police determined were in the room at the time of the rape,” and walked her through those conversations.
According to the lawsuit, in one of the conversations in late October, Araiza confirmed that he had sex with the plaintiff and suggested she get tested for an STD. She also asked Araiza, “Did we really make love?” He allegedly then changed his tone and said, “This is Matt Araiza. I don’t remember anything about that night.”
The accuser’s attorney, Daniel Gilleon, told the Times that neither the results of the rape investigation nor the audio recordings of the phone conversations have been released yet.
The lawsuit comes after the Times reported nearly two months ago that five SDSU football players had been reported for an alleged rape at an off-campus house party last fall. After the report said the school had not launched an internal investigation or disciplinary action against the student more than seven months after learning of the incident, the school was immediately criticized. Nine months after the initial allegations, SDSU finally launched its own Title IX investigation.
During the announcement, the university said that it waited to start its investigation because “the San Diego Police Department asked SDSU not to do anything about the reported off-campus sexual assault, including starting an investigation and conducting interviews, so as not to hurt its own criminal investigation.”
The woman talked about what happened for the first time in public last month. She was upset with how the university handled the situation. Her father recently told The Times anonymously that he told campus police about his daughter’s story three days after the party, but he was never told anything about the school’s Title IX investigation or complaint process.