*Warning — this story contains graphic information.*
Buffalo Bills rookie punter Matt Araiza is named in a civil lawsuit by a California woman accusing him and two former teammates at San Diego State University of "gang raping" her when she was 17 years old.
According to the lawsuit filed Thursday in California State Court, the alleged victim — referred to as Jane Doe — met Araiza at a Halloween party on October 17, 2021 when she was a high school student. The teenager and her friends drank at other parties prior to going to the residence.
Early in the evening, Doe became separated from her friends and was approached by Araiza, the lawsuit alleges. It states that he could see she was “heavily intoxicated” and handed her a drink.
The suit claims that “despite her age and inebriated state, Araiza led Doe over to the side yard of the house where he told her to perform oral sex on him.” The lawsuit also states that Araiza had sex with the teenager outside of the home before leading her into a bedroom inside the house.
“There were at least three other men already in the bedroom,” the lawsuit states. The lawsuit went on to say Doe was in and out of consciousness while she was being gang raped. She also said her phone was taken during the assault.
The assault occurred for roughly an hour and a half until the party was shut down. She “stumbled out of the room bloody and crying.” The lawsuit claims her nose, belly button, and ear piercings had been pulled out and she was also bleeding from her private area.
Doe immediately told her friends she had been raped and located her phone still at the residence using the “find my iPhone” app the next morning.
She said she reported the rape to San Diego Police the following day.
During what police called a “pretext call” with the men accused of rape, the lawsuit states that, “Araiza confirmed having sex with Doe, even telling her that she should get tested for [sexually transmitted diseases].”
As Doe continued to ask questions, the lawsuit states that Araiza terminated the call by hanging up on her.
The documents allege three football players subjected the teenager to “cruel and unjust hardship” and “acted with malice, oppression or fraud.”
San Diego State University is not listed as a defendant in this lawsuit.
Dan Gilleon, who is representing the alleged victim, provided the following statement to 7 News:
"This was a horrific crime, the kind of which happens all too often. What makes these crimes different is not only that they were committed by self-entitled athletes. Just as awful as the crimes, for months, multiple organizations — SDSU, the San Diego Police Department, the San Diego District Attorney, and now the Buffalo Bills — have acted the part of enablers looking the other way in denial that my client deserves justice even if the defendants are prized athletes."
Kerry Armstrong, a San Diego-based attorney representing Araiza in a potential criminal case, told 7 News Sports Director Matt Bove the accusations are completely false.
“I find it very interesting that the suit was filed just a few days after he made the team," Armstrong said. "My investigator has talked to numerous people who were at the house that night, including at least one of this girl's friends who came with her to — I don't even want to call it a party it wasn't really a party it was just a gathering of football players and some of their friends — but I've read these reports and based on everything I've read, this girl was definitely not raped by Matt Araiza."
Armstrong added that he has been in communication with the Bills regarding Araiza prior to this week.
A spokesperson for the Bills shared the following statement:
“We were recently made aware of a civil complaint involving Matt from October 2021. 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."
The Bills drafted Araiza in the sixth round this year. He won the punting job earlier this week and is with the team in Carolina ahead of Friday's preseason game against the Panthers.