Former San Diego State Football Players, Including ‘Punt God’ Matt Araiza, Not Charged In Connection With Alleged Gang Rape

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Three former San Diego State football players, including former Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza, will not be charged in connection with an alleged gang-rape incident, according to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.

The DA office announced the decision Wednesday in a statement.

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office has completed its review of an alleged sexual assault at a home in the College area near the San Diego State University campus on October 16 and 17, 2021. The DA’s Office received San Diego Police Department’s investigation on August 5, 2022, for review, which came with no recommendation by SDPD to file criminal charges.

In the intervening 124 days, sexual assault experts, including District Attorney prosecutors and investigators, meticulously analyzed all the evidence in the case, including over 35 taped witness interviews, the results of a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) exam, DNA results, and evidence derived from 10 search warrants…

…Ultimately, prosecutors determined it is clear the evidence does not support the filing of criminal charges and there is no path to a potential criminal conviction. Prosecutors can only file charges when they ethically believe they can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

San Diego County District Attorney’s Office Statement

Though there are no criminal charges coming against the three men, there is a civil lawsuit still pending. The civil lawsuit was filed Aug. 25 and Matt Araiza was cut from the Buffalo Bills two days later on August 27. Araiza remaining on Buffalo’s roster for 48 hours was criticized by many in the media.

Former San Diego State football player Matt Araiza was drafted in the 6th round of the NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills and was cut after a lawsuit was made public.
Former San Diego State football player Matt Araiza was drafted in the 6th round of the NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills and was cut after a lawsuit was made public. (Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images)

The alleged incident occurred when Araiza was 21 years old and a member of the San Diego State football team.

Following news of the lawsuit and subsequent media coverage, Araiza’s parents released a statement defending their son, as OutKick previously reported.

“The rule of law is innocent until proven guilty,” the statement read. “That is not our experience. There has been war waged on our son. He has been tried and convicted in the media based on information released solely from the alleged victim and her attorney, much of it through social media. People have taken his information as factual, when it is not.

“We do not wish this experience on anyone, but question why our son is the only one receiving this kind of treatment by social media and national news media. The vitriol has been on him alone.

“He has been extorted, discriminated against, harassed and the subject of multiple and continuous threats of violence and death. He has been released from his job and our entire family continues to receive horrific threats of violence and death. We have all been canceled. Every member of our family.

“Salacious rumors grew as fact. There are multiple witness reports to deny the claims that are made against him. The legal system is designed to find the facts and make decisions. They should be allowed to do that.”

The attorney for the alleged victim, Dan Gilleon, told USA Today that they plan to move ahead with the civil lawsuit.

“I am never surprised when a prosecutor does not file sexual assault charges when the victim was intoxicated,” Dan Gilleon said. “It’s a very rare case where the criminal justice system achieves anything satisfactory for the victim in a sexual assault.

“In the criminal system, the victim is just another witness. She is not represented by anyone. Prosecutors cannot file charges unless they think they can get a unanimous decision from all jurors who cannot vote to convict unless they’re convinced beyond any reasonable doubt. The lawsuit we filed is not in the criminal justice system.”

With the DA’s office electing not to pursue charges, it will be interesting to see if any NFL team shows interest in Araiza, nicknamed “The Punt God.”

More than likely, teams will await the results of the civil lawsuit before making any decisions.

Written by Dan Zaksheske

Dan began his sports media career at ESPN, where he survived for nearly a decade. Once the Stockholm Syndrome cleared, he made his way to Outkick. He is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he is a cat-enthusiast with three cats, one of which is named “Brady” because his wife wishes she were married to Tom instead of him.

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