A prosecutor in the case against former Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza said he wasn't present when an alleged gang rape of a minor at a San Diego home where he had been living at the time, which is why he was never criminally charged in relation to the incident, ESPN reports.
Araiza, who was released by the Bills before ever appearing in an NFL game following news of the allegations, was also reported to not be visible in any video footage taken from the scene, according to audio of a conversation between San Diego deputy district attorney Trisha Amador and the accuser who filed a civil lawsuit against Araiza and his former San Diego State Aztecs teammates Zavier Leonard and Nowlin 'Pa'a' Ewaliko. The audio of the December 7, 2022, meeting -- which was also attended by the accuser's attorney, district attorney investigator Ted Mansour and a selected victim advocate -- obtained by ESPN was reported to total more than one hour and 41 minutes.
The meeting was intended to explain why criminal charges weren't filed against the then-San Diego State players, including Araiza, who was reported to have left the off-campus house about an hour before the alleged incident took place, according to a witness. Amador said Araiza was "alleged to have left the party at 12:30" and not "even at the party anymore," while the alleged gang rape incident reportedly took place at 1:30 a.m. local time, according to video time stamps of the footage taken from the scene.
Amador also said that no one outside of her office, including the witness who testified about Araiza's absence, knew about the specific time stamps from the video footage taken from the party.
"There's a witness who doesn't have a reason to say what time suspect Araiza left the party because nobody knows about the time stamps -- that he would've left the party prior to [a video being filmed]," Amador told the woman in the audio via ESPN.
Araiza, the Ray Guy Award -- annually given to college football's best punter -- winner in 2021, was released by the Bills in August 2022, just months after being selected in the sixth-round of the 2022 NFL Draft and being named as the team's starter days prior. 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 was selected as a unanimous All-American, first-team All-MWC and MWC Special Teams Player of the Year in 2021.
Araiza did, however, inexplicably fall behind two other punters -- Penn State's Jordan Stout (No. 130 overall, Baltimore Ravens) and Georgia's Jake Camarda (No. 133, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) -- which many speculated was due to NFL's teams' knowledge of the alleged situation dating back prior to the 2022 NFL Draft.
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