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The Buffalo Bills cut punter Matt Araiza after an allegation surfaced that he participated in the gang rape of a minor while he attended San Diego State University. The accuser filed a civil lawsuit against Araiza and three other men, including two former SDSU teammates. However, prosecutors in the San Diego District Attorney’s Office declined to file criminal charges.
According to a recently released transcript of a meeting between the accuser and prosecutors, investigators do not believe Araiza was present at the time of the alleged assault. In addition, prosecutors told the accuser that from their investigation, they could not conclude that sexual assault occurred.
The lawsuit alleged that Araiza led the girl into the room where the alleged rape occurred. However, according to Yahoo, “The district attorney’s office concluded Araiza couldn’t have led the girl into the alleged gang rape because he had ‘left’ the home at about 12:30 a.m., an hour prior to when evidence suggested the alleged gang rape would have occurred.
“He wasn’t even at the party anymore,” deputy district attorney Trisha Amador explained to the girl, according to Yahoo.
Araiza has maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings. His parents released a statement shortly after the lawsuit became public. They said Araiza was “tried and convicted in the media.”
According to the recently released transcripts, Araiza did engage in sexual activity with the accuser. However, he maintains that it was consensual and he did not know the girl was under 18.
Investigators discovered evidence corroborating Matt Araiza’s claims
“A witness who was in the house gave a statement saying that at — at least one point in the party, that you made a statement telling people at the party you were 18,” Amador explained to the accuser. “Another witness at the party, a different one, says that they specifically heard you say you were 18…
“The witnesses say … that shortly after you arrived at the party, you left and came back shortly thereafter,” Amador said. “And you told [a friend], ‘I just had sex.’ … You appeared to be having fun and that the encounter on the side of the house with Matt, suspect Araiza, was consensual.
“You were approaching men at the party saying, ‘I want you to [expletive] me and if you don’t [expletive] me you’re a [expletive].”
This newly released transcript explains exactly why the DA’s office declined to pursue charges. There are videos that show sexual contact between the accuser and the other men — not Araiza — however, the DA’s office says they do not indicate rape.
“There’s nothing in the videos that sound like you’re saying ‘stop’ or ‘this hurts’ or anything like that,” Ted Mansour, an investigator for the San Diego County district attorney’s office, said.
New information sheds light on why Buffalo Bills waited to release Araiza
This new information also helps explain why the Buffalo Bills did not immediately release Araiza. In fact, the team did not cut him until they faced media backlash.
It’s within reason that the team had access to this information, or at least felt as though Araiza was telling the truth.
However, the team did release him once the media storm set in. That’s not incredibly surprising since Araiza is a punter.
That’s the way it works. Had this been the team’s starting quarterback, they’d likely have allowed the legal process to play out before making any major decisions. But when it comes to non-essential personnel, they’d rather not deal with the headache.
It’s an unfortunate situation for Araiza, who did not commit any crimes during the night in question, At least according to the District Attorney who declined to press charges.
Araiza won the starting job for Buffalo and earned the nickname “Punt God” after an incredible college career. He followed that up by bombing an 82-yard punt during a preseason game.
With this new information now public, Araiza likely earns another shot at the NFL. Though, we don’t yet know how teams view this new information.
Teams might want to wait until the civil lawsuit plays out in court before making any decisions.
Accuser’s attorney releases statement on her behalf
Here’s what Dan Gilleon, the accuser’s attorney, wrote in a statement:
Team Araiza continues to litigate the case in the media because they know the information they’re leaking has no relevance whatsoever to the lawsuit. Matt Araiza will dress up in a suit and tie for tv crews at a meaningless court hearing, but he won’t speak to the media like Jane Doe has and will continue to do. The first time Araiza had a chance to tell his side of the story was when he was contacted by the police. He took the fifth, asserting his right not to incriminate himself. Since then, he has remained silent as his attorneys leak irrelevant information to the media and attack the victim, apparently thinking that she’ll be bullied into dropping her case. It’s not going to happen. This case is going to trial, and we’ll force Araiza to talk.Dan Gilleon
It’s an unfortunate situation for everyone involved, but serves as a reminder that the American legal system must be allowed to work through these cases.
The media cannot try and convict people based on incomplete information.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @RealDanZak
2 CommentsLeave a Reply
Really, this is what you take from the leaks? That he wasn’t there? He’s already admitted he plied her with alcohol (making it impossible for her to legally consent, btw), then took her inside where the incident took place. But because his lawyer says he left before the others had sex with her, that he’s not culpable? And for that, he should get his career back, intact?
This is the kind of privileged BS that makes reasonable people despise athletes – and the media shills who willingly run cover for them.
You need to work on your reading comprehension:
“He wasn’t even at the party anymore,” deputy district attorney Trisha Amador explained to the girl.
That is not “his lawyer”, that is the prosecutor from the San Diego district attorney’s office.