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#pounditThursday, December 8, 2022

Punter Matt Araiza accused of sexually assaulting minor

Matt Araiza smiling on the podium

Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; San Diego State place kicker Matt Araiza (PK01) talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Three members of the 2021 San Diego State football team, including current Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza, have been accused of sexually assaulting a minor during a 2021 incident.

A civil lawsuit was filed on Thursday in San Diego County Superior Court that accuses Araiza and two of his San Diego State football teammates of gang-raping a then-17-year-old girl.

The woman, now 18, says in the suit that she was sexually assaulted at an off-campus party that began on the night of Oct. 16, with the assault occurring early the next day. The woman was in high school at the time of the alleged incident.

The LA Times provides some sexual details about the allegations found in the suit:

“According to the lawsuit, the teen told Araiza she was a high school student and, even though he could see she was highly intoxicated, he told her to perform oral sex, then had sex with her. Then Araiza took her to a bedroom where [Zavier] Leonard, [Nowlin] Ewaliko and at least one other man were, the complaint alleged, and threw her down on the bed face first. The lawsuit said she was raped for an hour and a half until the party was shut down,” the Times reports.

The lawsuit says the woman immediately told her friends she had been raped. She went to police the next day and then went to the hospital where she underwent a rape exam.

Araiza was a star punter on the Aztecs last year before being drafted by the Bills in April. Zavier Leonard and Nowlin “Pa’a” Ewaliko are the other players who were named in the suit. Leonard is listed on the Aztecs’ roster as a redshirt freshman, while Ewaliko was a freshman on last year’s roster but is not on the current roster.

Araiza won the Ray Guy Award last year as the best punter in college football. Nicknamed the “Punt God” for his incredible punting ability, Araiza was drafted in the sixth round.

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