Matt Araiza: Buffalo Bills’ punter and a pair of former faculty teammates accused of rape in lawsuit

Araiza, Zavier Leonard and Nowlin “Pa’a” Ewaliko have been a part of the San Diego State College soccer group on the time of the alleged incident final October.

Araiza mentioned in a press release issued by way of his lawyer that, “The facts of the incident are not what they are portrayed in the lawsuit or in the press. I look forward to quickly setting the record straight.”

Earlier, his lawyer, Kerry Armstrong, advised CNN his consumer did not rape the accuser.

“He never used any force against her. She was not visibly intoxicated. He did not hand her a drink with anything in it,” Armstrong added.

Araiza “hopes it does not affect this career with the Buffalo Bills. He really likes the team and hopes he can stay with them,” mentioned Armstrong.

Jane Doe says she attended a celebration within the San Diego space with buddies, however was separated from them when she met Araiza, in line with the lawsuit. The declare additional asserts that Araiza “could observe that Doe was heavily intoxicated” and “handed her a drink anyway.”

“Doe informed Araiza that she attended Grossmont High School. Araiza, who was 21 years old, knew or should have known that Doe was a minor,” the grievance says.

The girl says Araiza led her to a bed room the place “there were at least three other men already in the bedroom,” together with Leonard and Ewaliko, who have been each a minimum of 18 on the time, in line with the courtroom doc. Shortly after Doe entered the bed room, the boys allegedly started participating in intercourse acts along with her, the lawsuit claims.

“Doe was raped for about an hour and a half until the party was shut down. Doe stumbled out of the room bloody and crying,” mentioned the grievance.

Doe reported the alleged incident the subsequent day to the San Diego Police Division and underwent a rape examination at an area hospital, in line with the lawsuit. Days later, detectives organized “pretext” calls between Doe and the boys that they had decided as her alleged attackers, mentioned the declare.

“During the call, Araiza confirmed having sex with Doe, even telling her that she should get tested for STDs,” mentioned the declare however when she pressed him about their encounter, “Araiza immediately changed his tone, saying, ‘This is Matt Araiza. I don’t remember anything that happened that night,’ at which time he terminated the pretext call by hanging up on Doe,” the grievance alleges.

Ewaliko’s lawyer, Marc Carlos, advised CNN in a telephone interview that he sees some points with Doe’s credibility and the circumstances underneath which she reported the occasion. “The filing of the civil suit is clearly an attempt to put pressure on the DA to file a case,” he mentioned.

Ewaliko will not be enrolled at San Diego State this semester, in line with Carlos.

Leonard’s lawyer, Jamahl Kersey, mentioned: “We are aware of the lawsuit that was filed yesterday and we respectfully decline to comment.” He mentioned he couldn’t touch upon his consumer’s standing as a San Diego State pupil or participant.

The police division has submitted its investigation to the San Diego County District Lawyer’s Workplace and is being reviewed, the DA’s workplace mentioned, although officers didn’t point out when a charging choice could be made.

CNN has additionally requested remark from police.

The college launched a press release saying it “takes allegations of sexual assault seriously.” however was not in a position to launch particular particulars on the case because of privateness issues stating the allegations have been nonetheless underneath “active university investigation.” The assertion mentioned additional {that a} violation of the college’s pupil code of conduct may doubtlessly end in “suspension, dismissal or expulsion.”

“We were recently made aware of a civil complaint involving Matt from October 2021,” a Buffalo Bills spokesperson mentioned. “Due to the serious nature of the complaint, we conducted a thorough examination of this matter. As this is an ongoing civil case, we will have no other comment at this point.”

Araiza did not play throughout Buffalo’s 21-0 loss in a pre-season recreation to the Carolina Panthers on Friday. “At the end of the day I didn’t feel like it was right,” mentioned coach Sean McDermott.

Questioned after the sport in regards to the allegations, McDermott described it as an “extremely serious” scenario. “We want to find the truth and figure this out the right way and do the right thing.”

NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy mentioned in a press release league officers are conscious of the matter however had no further remark.

An NFL participant can’t be suspended for conduct earlier than becoming a member of the league. But when an individual is investigated for actions that happen whereas an NFL participant, prior conduct can issue into potential self-discipline, in line with the NFL’s private conduct coverage.

CNN’s Jill Martin and Taylor Romine contributed to this report.