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Former Bills punter Matt Araiza has been cleared of rape allegations. What do we know?

It may yet be that the future of the former Bills draft pick can develop on the football field, after new developments in his case prove his innocence.

Bills sign former Bronco Sam Martin to one-year deal to replace Araiza
Timothy T LudwigAFP

Late last year, reports indicated that the former San Diego State punter and Buffalo Bills draft pick would not be charged with any crime, following the filing of a civil lawsuit in which he was accused of participating in the gang rape of a 17-year-old girl in California.

Matt Araiza is now in the clear

According to a 200-page court document, a conversation between a deputy district attorney and the alleged victim along with her attorneys now proves that Matt Araiza was not present at the time of the group sexual assault of the 17-year-old girl in question. Indeed, it has now been established that Araiza had in fact left the home in which the incident occurred an hour before it did.

“He wasn’t even at the party anymore,” deputy district attorney Trisha Amador reportedly explained to the girl. “All I know is that at that point, suspect Araiza is gone from the party.” Back in December of last year, the District Attorney declared that no charges would be filed after San Diego Police were said to have spent almost an entire year on the case. “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 DA’s office said in a statement. “Prosecutors can only file charges when they ethically believe they can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

What has Matt Araiza said about the situation

Following the decision in December, Araiza released a statement in which he alluded to the idea that he looks forward to returning to the field. “I am grateful that the District Attorney and the San Diego Police Department have discovered all the facts and found no criminal wrongdoing. I am excited to continue my NFL career.” To be clear, Araiza was one of three men named in the lawsuit. Former San Diego State teammates Zavier Leonard and Nowlin “Pa’a” Ewaliko were the other two, with Leonard and Ewaliko also avoiding charges as well. It is understood, that the victim believes she was raped by as many as 20 individuals.

Matt Araiza’s lawyers believe he’s a victim of success

Speaking with the press, Araiza’s lawyer, Kerry Armstrong, denied all allegations and even went as far as to state that he believed Araiza’s accuser was after his money. Explaining that his investigator had spoken with other witnesses at the party, Armstrong indicated that he was told a very different story from the version given by the girl in question. “It’s a shakedown because [was] with the Buffalo Bills,” Armstrong said. “There is no doubt in my mind that Matt Araiza [never] raped that girl.”

Interestingly, Araiza himself has always maintained that the details of the lawsuit were untrue and moreover that he looked forward to clearing his name. The Bills for their part released the sixth-round pick after the suit was filed in August of last year. At the time general manager Brandon Beane explained that it was a situation that was “bigger than football.”


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