Former Buffalo Bills player Matt Araiza and former teammates on the San Diego State football team will not be prosecuted in connection with an alleged gang rape of a minor that occurred at an off-campus party in October 2021, county prosecutors said San Diego announced Wednesday.
“Ultimately, prosecutors determined that the evidence does not support the filing of criminal charges and there is no pathway to a possible criminal conviction,” prosecutors said in a statement. “Prosecutors can only bring charges when they ethically believe they can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The prosecutor’s office said the San Diego Police Department did not recommend charges when the case was filed in early August.
A civil case is still pending.
The Bills released Araiza on Aug. 27, two days after a civil lawsuit was filed alleging he had off-campus sex with a then 17-year-old high school senior who was underage in California Party that took place at his apartment in the early morning of October 17, 2021 when he was a member of the SDSU football team. The lawsuit says Araiza, who was 21 at the time, then took her to the home, where at least three other men, including the two other defendants named in the lawsuit — Araiza’s then-Aztec teammates Zavier Leonard and Nowlin Ewaliko — were found and that she was repeatedly raped for about 1½ hours. An initial crime report obtained by ESPN states that the girl suffered “severe black and blue bruising to the neck and throat area,” in addition to a 1/2 inch laceration on her upper forehead. She had bruises on her right leg and noted “vaginal pain and bleeding from the incident.”
The teenager reported the alleged rape to the San Diego Police Department the following day. Nine months later, on August 5, 2022, the San Diego Police Department turned over their investigation to the District Attorney’s Office for review.
Araiza released a statement through his agency which read: “I am grateful that the District Attorney and the San Diego Police Department discovered all the facts and found no criminal wrongdoing. I look forward to continuing my NFL career.”
Leonard’s name was removed from the SDSU list after the lawsuit was filed and Ewaliko was not on the list when training camp began.
“I’m never surprised when a prosecutor doesn’t press charges of sexual assault when the victim was intoxicated,” plaintiff attorney Dan Gilleon said in a statement. “It is a very rare occurrence for the criminal justice system to achieve anything satisfactory for the victim of a sexual assault.
“The lawsuit that we have filed is not in the criminal justice system. … It is only in the civil system that a victim of sexual assault can obtain justice, and that is what we plan to do.”
Gilleon said the suit is in its early stages.
In response to the lawsuit, Araiza’s civil suit, Dick Semerdjian, said in a statement: “Should the plaintiff proceed with her civil suit despite the district attorney’s conclusion that there is no avenue to a possible criminal conviction, we will vigorously defend the civil suit against ours.” Customers.”
According to the prosecutor’s office press release, sexual assault experts, including prosecutors and investigators, analyzed the evidence in the case, including over 35 recorded witness interviews, the results of a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) investigation, DNA results and “forensic evidence cell phones and video evidence of the incident itself.”
The prosecutor’s office also said it “met twice with the young woman at the center of this case” and “worked with SDPD to conduct further investigations, which led to the questioning of additional witnesses.”
San Diego State President Adela de la Torre said in a statement Wednesday that the school’s investigation into student behavior is ongoing after the university waited until it was cleared by San Diego police in July to investigate to continue their own investigation.
The Bills declined to comment when contacted by The Associated Press. Araiza was drafted by Buffalo in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL draft following his senior year at SDSU.
https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/35205631/no-charges-filed-matt-araiza-ex-teammates-sdsu-gang-rape-case No charges filed against Matt Araiza, ex-teammates in SDSU gang rape case