Araiza was not present at the time of the alleged rape, a witness says
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Former Buffalo Bills player Matt Araiza was not present when an alleged gang rape of a minor occurred at a party in San Diego in October 2021, nor was he in videos captured after the incident, leading to a police investigation into a complaint by the woman, who witnesses said she had been assaulted.
The testimony was part of the evidence that led the San Diego District Attorney not to file criminal charges against Araiza last year.
ESPN received and reviewed audio from a December 7, 2022 meeting where the details were discussed. The meeting was attended by Assistant District Attorney for San Diego Trisha Amador and the woman, as well as the woman’s attorney, District Attorney Investigator Ted Mansour, and a designated victims’ attorney.
The purpose of the meeting was primarily for Amador to explain why criminal charges could not be filed and to answer questions after the San Diego Police Department completed its investigation in August 2022.
According to a witness, Amador told the woman Araiza left the off-campus party about an hour before the time of the reported rape. Amador said Araiza “allegedly left the party at 12:30 p.m.” and was “not even at the party anymore” when the alleged rape occurred at 1:30 a.m. Pacific time, according to video timestamps of the encounter.
Amador also told the woman that no one outside of her office, including the witness who testified to Araiza’s departure from the party, knew of the specific timestamps of the videos recovered from the party.
The Bills released Araiza in August, just days after the woman filed her lawsuit. The accuser alleged in the lawsuit that Araiza, then 21, had sex with her in a side courtyard of an off-campus residence before taking her to a bedroom, where a group of men took turns raping her. She said she fell unconscious when the men attacked her for about 90 minutes.
The then 17-year-old woman reported the alleged rape the following day to the San Diego Police Department, which investigated the allegations for nine months before turning her investigation over to prosecutors on August 5, 2022.
The public prosecutor’s office could not prove that she knew her age or her state of intoxication. At least two witnesses at the party reportedly overheard the girl say she was 18, while others said they didn’t remember her approaching age.
“The prosecutor’s sex crimes and human trafficking division has a team of assistant district attorneys, district attorney investigators and victim advocates who are trained to be trauma informed when dealing with victims,” said Tanya Sierra, deputy communications director for the San Das, told the county’s attorney’s office Diego County with. “It is a priority for our office that we treat victims with dignity, respect, courtesy and sensitivity.
“Even in cases where we can’t bring charges because we can’t prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, we reach out to victims so they can meet with us, so we can explain why the case can’t be filed, and be able to answer their questions.”
Nicknamed “Punt God,” Araiza was honored as a consensus All-American for his booming kicks that helped San Diego State to a school-best 12-2 season in his senior year. He was selected by the Bills in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL draft.
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