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Woman Says It Makes Her 'Sick' Matt Araiza's Lawyer Accuses Her of 'a Money Grab'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 30, 2022

AP Photo/Adrian Kraus

The woman who accused former Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza of rape said she was "sick to the stomach" at the claim she leveled the allegations against Araiza for financial gain.

"I reported it the day after it happened," she told CBS News' Lilia Luciano. "I was 17 years old and I had no idea who Matt Araiza was."

The Los Angeles Times' Colleen Shalby and Robert J. Lopez first reported last Thursday a woman had filed a civil lawsuit in which she said she was gang raped at an off-campus party by Araiza, Zavier Leonard and Nowlin "Pa'a" Ewaliko, two of his former teammates at San Diego State:

"According to the lawsuit, the teen told Araiza she was a high school student and, even though he could see she was highly intoxicated, he told her to perform oral sex, then had sex with her. Then Araiza took her to a bedroom where Leonard, Ewaliko and at least one other man were, the complaint alleged, and threw her down on the bed face first. The lawsuit said she was raped for an hour and a half until the party was shut down."

Araiza’s lawyer, Kerry Armstrong, responded to the allegations and described the situation as a "shakedown" to the Los Angeles Times and provided similar comments to Luciano, saying he "still thinks it's a money grab."

"I would be very surprised if they ever charged Matt Araiza with anything in this case," he said. "If she really was raped in that back bedroom, that's horrible. It's a horrible thing to happen to anybody. But all I know is that Mr. Araiza had nothing to do with it, and the only thing I can think of as to why she's included him in this civil lawsuit is because of money."

On Monday, Araiza's family provided a statement to Brandon Stone of KUSI-TV in San Diego. They described a "war waged on our son" and said he "has been extorted, discriminated against, harassed and the subject of multiple and continuous threats of violence and death."

San Diego State shared a timeline of the university's actions in connection to the allegation. The school said San Diego police received a report of an off-campus sexual assault on Oct. 18, 2021. San Diego State's Title IX office opened an inquiry one day later and received several "anonymous submissions from individuals with thirdhand information" about the alleged assault.

According to Shalby and Lopez, the woman reported the assault to police on Oct. 19, 2021, and "underwent an extensive rape exam" at a local hospital. She also made calls that were coordinated and recorded by SDPD detectives to the men she named in her civil lawsuit.

"Araiza, the complaint alleged, confirmed on a call in late October that they had sex and recommended she get tested for a sexually transmitted disease," per the Los Angeles Times report. "Later in the conversation, she asked him, 'And did we have actual sex?' Araiza allegedly changed his tone and replied, 'This is Matt Araiza. I don't remember anything that happened that night.'"

Shalby and Lopez reported that police detectives "recently submitted their investigation to the San Diego County district attorney’s office to determine whether charges should be filed."

The Bills, who selected Araiza in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL draft, released the rookie punter ahead of the regular season.

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