SAN DIEGO (AP) — Former Buffalo Bills player Matt Araiza was not present when an alleged gang rape of a minor occurred at an October 2021 party in San Diego, nor was he in videos recovered after the incident which led to a police investigation A complaint by the woman, who testimony said she was assaulted.
The statement was included in evidence leading the San Diego District Attorney to do so do not push Criminal charges against Araiza last year.
ESPN obtained 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 no criminal complaint could be filed and answer questions after the San Diego Police Department completed its investigation in August 2022.
According to a witness, Amador said 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 her office, including the witness who testified about Araiza’s exit from the party, knew of the specific timestamps of the videos recovered by the party.
The Bills released Araiza in August, just days after the woman filed her lawsuit. The prosecutor alleged in the lawsuit that Araiza, then 21, had sex with her in a back yard of an off-campus apartment building before taking her to a bedroom, where a group of men took turns raping her. She said she kept falling unconscious as 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, who investigated the allegations for nine months before turning their investigation over to prosecutors on August 5, 2022.
The district attorney’s office was also unable to show that her age or level of intoxication was known. At least two witnesses at the party reportedly overheard the girl say she was 18, while others said they couldn’t remember how old she was.
“The District Attorney’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 literate when dealing with victims,” says Tanya Sierra, assistant director of communications at the San Dies shared the Diego County District Attorney’s Office in a statement. “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 lawsuit 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 University 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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