BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Former Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza will not face charges in an alleged sexual assault that occurred in October 2021, the San Diego District Attorney’s office announced Wednesday.
On August 25, Araiza was named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed in California, accusing him and other San Diego State University football players of raping a then-17 year old girl at a party in the early-morning hours of October 17, 2021.
The Bills released Araiza two days later amid the allegations. He remains unsigned.
“Ultimately, prosecutors determined it is clear the evidence does not support the filing of criminal charges and there is no path to a potential criminal conviction. Prosecutors can only file charges when they ethically believe they can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” the statement read in part.
The DA’s office said that they evaluated the case for various potential criminal charges, including statutory rape, forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, rape by intoxication and oral copulation by intoxication. They said they conducted over 35 taped witness interviews, examined all evidence, including the results of a Sexual Assault Response Team exam, DNA results as well as evidence from 10 search warrants.
“I am never surprised when a prosecutor does not file sexual assault charges when the victim is intoxicated. It’s a very rare case where the criminal justice system achieves anything satisfactory for the victim of a sexual assault,” Dan Gilleon, the accuser’s attorney for the civil case, said in a tweet. “Prosecutors cannot file charges unless they can get a unanimous decision who cannot vote to convict unless they’re convinced beyond any reasonable doubt.”
However, as Gilleon noted, the civil lawsuit is still ongoing. “It’s a different ball game here. The victim is represented, and the focus is on the harm defendants caused her. It is only in the civil system that a victim of sexual assault can get justice, and we plan to do just that.”
The Bills had drafted Araiza in the 6th round of the NFL draft this past spring.
Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.