Bills' Matt Araiza, 2 College Teammates Named In Gang-Rape Of Minor Lawsuit

By Jason Hall

August 26, 2022

Buffalo Bills Training Camp
Photo: Getty Images

Buffalo Bills rookie punter Matt Araiza and two of his former San Diego State University teammates were named in a civil lawsuit accusing them of gang raping a minor at an off-campus party last year, the Associated Press reports.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the County of San Diego Superior Court on Thursday (August 25), accuses Araiza, Zavier Leonard and Nowlin 'Pa'a' Ewaliko of gang-raping a 17-year-old girl during a Halloween party that took place at a San Diego home where the punter had been living at the time.

The plaintiff, who is now 18, was identified as 'Jane Doe' in the complaint due to being underage at the time of the alleged incident.

The lawsuit states that Doe was drinking with friends before attending the party and was "observably intoxicated upon arrival" before being separated from her friends and offered a drink by Araiza.

Doe said she believes the drink “not only contained alcohol, but other intoxicating substances," prior to the alleged rape incident taking place, according to the lawsuit via the AP.

No arrests have been made and San Diego Police have not publicly identified any suspects in relation to the alleged incident, according to the AP.

The Bills issued a statement to the Los Angeles Times confirming their awareness to the situation.

“We were recently made aware of a civil complaint involving Matt from October 2021,” the team said. “Due to the serious nature of the complaint, we conducted a thorough examination of this matter. As this is an ongoing civil case, we will have no other comment at this point.”

Araiza, who was selected by Buffalo in the sixth-round of the 2022 NFL Draft, was named as the team's starting punter earlier this week after the Bills released veteran Matt Haack on Monday (August 22).

The 22-year-old received national attention during his final season at San Diego State, earning the nickname "Punt God" for his ability to boot the football 70 to 80 yards and won the Ray Guy Award -- annually given to college football's best punter -- as well as being selected as a unanimous All-American, first-team All-MWC and MWC Special Teams Player of the Year in 2021.

Leonard, an offensive lineman from Arlington, Texas, is currently listed on San Diego State's roster as a redshirt freshman.

Ewaliko, who played defensive line for the Aztecs in 2021, was not listed on the team's roster for the upcoming 2022 season.

The Associated Press has more information about the alleged incident, which includes graphic details.

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