Former Bills, Sdsu Punter Matt Araiza Won't Be Charged in 2021 Gang-Rape Case

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 7, 2022

FILE - Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza walks on the sideline during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Orchard Park, N.Y., on Aug. 13, 2022. The Buffalo Bills cut Araiza from the team on Saturday, Aug. 27, two days after a lawsuit was filed alleging the player and two college teammates gang-raped a teenager last fall. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus, File)
AP Photo/Adrian Kraus, File

Former Buffalo Bills and San Diego State punter Matt Araiza will not face criminal charges after a then-17-year-old girl said he and his former teammates Zavier Leonard and Nowlin “Pa’a” Ewaliko raped her in 2021, per Lyndsay Winkley and Teri Figueroa of The San Diego Union-Tribune.

"Ultimately, prosecutors determined it is clear the evidence does not support the filing of criminal charges and there is no path to a potential criminal conviction," the San Diego District Attorney's Office said in a statement. "Prosecutors can only file charges when they ethically believe they can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt."

Leonard and Ewaliko also won't face criminal charges.

The woman, now 18, said that Araiza, then 21, originally had sex with her in the yard of a house just off the San Diego State campus on Oct. 17, 2021. She said he then brought her inside the house, where she was raped by Araiza, Leonard and Ewaliko.

Per Winkley and Figueroa's report, "The teen said that she was in and out of consciousness and her ear, belly and nose piercings were ripped out as men assaulted her for about 90 minutes. She said she stumbled out of the room bloodied and bruised and immediately told her friends she'd been raped."

She reported the rape to San Diego police the next day, and authorities investigated the case for nine months before turning over their findings to prosecutors, though they did not recommend charges be filed.

Araiza, a sixth-round pick of the Bills in 2022, was released by the team in late August after the woman sued him, Leonard and Ewaliko, accusing them of rape in her civil filing.