Buffalo Bills newcomer Matt Araiza is being sued for alleged gang rape of a minor in 2021.
A civil lawsuit was filed on August 25, 2022, alleging Araiza and two other current and former San Diego State Aztecs football players were guilty of gang rape.
Who is Matt Araiza?
Matt Araiza was selected in the sixth round of the Buffalo Bills Draft for the 2022 NFL season.
The rookie player has just been promoted to the starting position, replacing Matt Haack, who started the 2021 season.
Araiza was the third player to be drafted, winning the 2021 Ray Guy Award for the nation’s top player, and was named an AP All-American on the first team.
His accolades date back to his teenage years when he was a three-time All-CIF San Diego Section kicker at Rancho Bernando High.
When he moved to play for the Aztecs, he became a standout in the All-Mountain West Conference, earning him the nickname “Punt God”.
Araiza said that when he was growing up in Arizona, he originally played football but noticed that he was a few years ahead of everyone else.
“When I was under 10 years old, I could hit the ball like before 12 years old. Then, in high school, when I went to the freshman team, I didn’t necessarily plan to do it just to kick and punt; I did it to play football in general,” he told Sports Illustrated.
“I think my first kickoff was a touchback and the coaches were a little confused. Just hearing them talk about it, I thought, “OK, I don’t think a lot of people can do that.” ”
He made the decision to switch to football because more college scholarships were available to footballers.
When the Aztecs won the San Diego State Cup in December 2021, he declared for the NFL Draft early, a rare occurrence for a player.
He began drafting with Southern California coach Cody Smith and former Chargers kicker Nick Novak.
“With an explosive guy like Matt, he’s naturally a crazy jock,” Smith told Sports Illustrated.
“I was amazed because he came to me and picked everything up like that.
“He walks in the door and I let him work on one thing and it usually takes months sometimes for people to figure it out. He gets it in a couple of sets and it just clicks for him. ”
What are the charges against Matt Araiza?
The lawsuit alleges that Araiza allegedly had sex with a then-high school student at a party.
He then allegedly brought her to a room where he and two of his other teammates raped her, the lawsuit alleges.
The complaint also alleges that Araiza gave the girl, who was 17 years old at the time, a drink that “contained not only alcohol, but also other intoxicants.”
Then the teenager allegedly “left the room bloody and crying. Her nose, navel and ear piercings were torn out and she also bled from her vagina,” the lawsuit says.
It is reported that the next day she went to the police, and then to the hospital, where she was examined.
Dan Gilleon, the attorney who filed the lawsuit, said in a statement: “It was a terrible crime, this kind of thing happens all too often.”
He continued: “These crimes are different not only because they were committed by self-proclaimed athletes.
“As horrific as the crimes, for months several organizations—SDSU, the San Diego Police Department, the San Diego District Attorney, and now the Buffalo Bills—have acted as collaborators, looking the other way, denying that my the client deserves justice, even if the defendants are established athletes.”
Did Matt Araiza respond to the accusations?
Araiza has not publicly commented on the allegations or the lawsuit, but his lawyer, Kerry Armstrong, has stated that the allegations were false.
Armstrong told The Los Angeles Times that other witnesses at the party could refute claims made in the lawsuit.
“It’s extortion because now he’s in the Buffalo Bills,” Armstrong told the publication.
“I have no doubt that Matt Araiza ever raped this girl.”
Because the alleged incident happened before Araiza was included in the bills, he is not covered by their personal conduct policy.
However, the charge can be used against him if he breaks the policy after being drafted.
While a decision has yet to be made, the Bills may also decide to remove Araiza from the team.
However, the Buffalo Bills said they would not comment on the lawsuit at this time, but the statement said, “We have recently become aware of a civil lawsuit against Matt dated October 2021.
“Due to the serious nature of the complaint, we have conducted a thorough study of this matter.
“Because this is an ongoing civil case, we will have no other comments at this time.”