Matt Araiza, aka the “Punt God,” was recently named the Bills’ starting punter, but he’s now facing some serious allegations against him.
On Thursday, the LA Times reported that Araiza, alongside two of his San Diego State college teammates, are accused of gang-raping a 17-year-old at the time in a new civil lawsuit.
Breaking: A civil lawsuit filed Thursday in state court accuses three San Diego State University football players — including Matt Araiza, a top punter now in the NFL — of gang raping a 17-year-old girl last year at an off-campus party. https://t.co/gdfvXTlVK4
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) August 25, 2022
A civil lawsuit filed Thursday in state court accuses three San Diego State University football players — including a top punter now in the NFL — of gang-raping a 17-year-old girl last year at an off-campus party.
Matt Araiza, 22, whose powerful and precision kicking in college earned him the moniker “Punt God,” was accused of having sex with the minor outside the home and then bringing her inside to a room where she was repeatedly raped. The lawsuit, filed in San Diego County Superior Court, alleges the then-high school senior went in and out of consciousness but remembers moments as the men took turns assaulting her.
The other men named in the complaint are Zavier Leonard and Nowlin “Pa’a” Ewaliko. Leonard is listed on the university’s fall football roster as a redshirt freshman. Ewaliko was on the team last year as a freshman but is not on the current roster.
Araiza’s lawyer has already come out to say the allegations are false.
Araiza’s lawyer, Kerry Armstrong, said he hadn’t reviewed the complaint but called the rape accusation false. He said his investigator spoke to witnesses from the party who contradict the allegations against Araiza.
“It’s a shakedown because he’s now with the Buffalo Bills,” Armstrong said. “There is no doubt in my mind that Matt Araiza ever raped that girl.”
The Bills have released a statement and said they were recently made aware of the allegations.
“We were recently made aware of a civil complaint involving Matt from October 2021.
Due to the serious nature of the complaint, we conducted a thorough examination of this matter. As this is an ongoing civil case legal, we will have no other comment at this point.”
— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) August 25, 2022
No arrests have been made in a criminal case as detectives have just handed over their report to local prosecutors.
The lawsuit comes as San Diego State faces ongoing criticism after a Times investigation found that the university decided not to alert the campus community about the alleged gang rape and waited more than seven months to launch its own investigation.
Campus officials have said police asked them to not take any action that would compromise their investigation and that they were not required by federal law to send out a crime notification. After The Times report, San Diego State officials began posting some information about the October incident on a campus website.
No arrests have been made and San Diego police have not publicly identified any suspects. Detectives recently submitted their investigation to the San Diego County district attorney’s office to determine whether charges should be filed.