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Matt Araiza issued a statement Friday following a woman filed a civil lawsuit Thursday and said he and two NORTH PARK State teammates gang-raped her in October 2021 once the Buffalo Bills punter was still in college.
“The reality of the incident aren’t what they’re portrayed in the lawsuit or in the press,” Araiza said. “I anticipate quickly setting the record straight.”
Zavier Leonard and Nowlin “Pa’a” Ewaliko are listed because the other two defendants. Leonard remains with the NORTH PARK State football team, but Ewaliko is not any longer on the roster.
These were both teammates of Araiza’s last season.
Colleen Shalby and Robert J. Lopez of the LA Times reported the girl said Araiza offered her a glass or two that “not merely contained alcohol, but other intoxicating substances.” She said the punter had sex with her after telling her to execute oral sex and brought her right into a room.
Based on the lawsuit, the girl said Araiza, Leonard and a minumum of one other man gang-raped her for one hour . 5 for the reason that room.
While she underwent a rape exam at a hospital and reported the rape to the NORTH PARK Police Department the very next day, no charges have already been filed. Shalby and Lopez reported detectives “recently submitted their investigation to the NORTH PARK County District Attorney’s office,” that will “determine whether charges ought to be filed.”
Araiza’s statement echoed similar words from his lawyer, Kerry Armstrong, who called the lawsuit “a shakedown because he’s now with the Buffalo Bills.”
The Bills, who selected the punter with a sixth-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft, also released a statement:
Heather Prusak @haprusak
We were recently made alert to a civil complaint involving Matt from October 2021.
Because of the serious nature of the complaint, we conducted an intensive study of this matter. As that is a continuing civil case, we shall haven’t any other comment at this stage. https://t.co/AsLHRNIl5Q
Araiza didn’t play in Friday’s preseason game contrary to the Carolina Panthers.
Instead, third-string quarterback Matt Barkley assumed the punting duties.