Buffalo Bills Punter Matt Araiza Facing Lawsuit Over Alleged Gang Rape Of A Minor In 2021

(Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images)

According to reports, Buffalo Bills rookie punter Matt Araiza and two others are being accused of gang raping a 17-year-old girl last year in a lawsuit filed in San Diego County Superior Court on Thursday.

The alleged incident occurred during a party at Araiza’s residence while he was an athlete at San Diego State University during the early hours of October 17th, 2021, and the allegations are horrific.

The lawsuit accuses Araiza, who was 21 at the time, of having sex with “Jane Doe” the then-high school senior, and under the age of consent in California. The suit states Araiza brought her inside a room where at least three other men were, and that she was repeatedly raped for about an hour and a half until the party was shut down.

The other men named in the suit are former teammates of Araiza’s on San Diego State University’s football team. Zavier Leonard, a redshirt freshman with the Aztecs, and Nowlin Ewaliko, who was a freshman last season but is no longer on the listed roster.

The suit states that the minor, “Jane Doe,” was in and out of consciousness but remembers moments as the men took turns raping her. it also states that her nose, belly button and ear piercings had been pulled out during the acts, and she was bleeding from her vagina.

Doe alleges that Araiza was aware of her being in high school. She also alleges that he gave her a drink, though she didn’t see him pour it. There is belief that the drink might have contained other “intoxicating substances” besides alcohol.

Araiza’s lawyer, Kerry Armstrong, vehemently defended his client’s innocence and said the lawsuit was a shakedown attempt. The lawyer said his investigator spoke to witnesses from the party who contradict the allegations against Araiza.

“It’s a shakedown because he’s now with the Buffalo Bills,” Armstrong said, adding, “There is no doubt in my mind” that Araiza didn’t rape the teen.

It’s worth noting that Armstrong represents Araiza on a potential criminal case, not the pending civil case.

The day after the party, Doe reported the alleged rape to San Diego police, who opened an investigation. No arrests have been made and the suspects had not been publicly identified, but detectives recently submitted their findings to the district attorney’s office to determine whether charges should be filed.

“This was a horrific crime, the kind of which happens all too often,” said Dan Gilleon, the attorney who filed the lawsuit. “What makes these crimes different is not only that they were committed by self-entitled athletes. Just as awful as the crimes, for months, multiple organizations — SDSU, the San Diego Police Department, the San Diego District Attorney, and now the Buffalo Bills — have acted the part of enablers looking the other way in denial that my client deserves justice even if the defendants are prized athletes.”

A Twitter account with the name Dan Gilleon has been tweeting about the pending case including an alleged diary kept by the alleged victim and text messages that show Araiza’s lawyer offered money to avoid a trial.

The Buffalo Bills were made aware of the lawsuit and “conducted a thorough examination of this matter,” though declined further comment. The NFL was also made aware of the situation and declined further comment as the matter is ongoing.