Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza and two former San Diego State University teammates have been charged in a civil lawsuit with raping a teenage girl at an off-campus party last year, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in San Diego County Superior Court, alleges that Araiza had sex with the girl outside his home and then brought her inside, where she was repeatedly raped by others as she lost consciousness.
The woman, then a 17-year-old high school student, said in the suit that she “came out of the room bleeding and crying” after the attack.
“Her nose, belly button, and ear piercings had been ripped out, and she was also bleeding from her vagina,” the lawsuit said.
Araiza, known as the “Punt God” in college, has since become one of the NFL’s top kickers. The other defendants are former San Diego State players Zavier Leonard and Nowlin Ewaliko.
Araiza’s attorney, Kerry Armstrong, told the LA Times that witnesses at the party contradicted the woman’s story.
“It’s a shakedown because he’s now with the Buffalo Bills,” Armstrong said of Araiza. “There is no doubt in my mind.”
Lawyers for Leonard and Ewaliko had no comment, according to the newspaper.
San Diego police investigated the complaint. No one has been charged. The Buffalo Bills said the team was aware of the lawsuit and “conducted a thorough review of this matter.”
“As this is an ongoing civil matter, we will have no further comment at this time,” the team said in a statement to the LA Times.
The lawsuit described how the teenager had been drinking with friends on October 16 before arriving at Araiza’s home, where she said Araiza had given her a drink which she said “contained not only alcohol, but other intoxicants”.
The suit says she told Araiza her age, but he told her to give him oral sex and then had sex with her. After taking her to a bedroom, she said in the suit, the other two players and another man she did not identify took turns raping her for an hour and a half.
She said she told her friends as soon as she escaped. She reported the assault to the police the next day, she said, and underwent a rape exam at the hospital.
Now 18, she told the LA Times in July that she was so traumatized she finished her senior year of high school online.
Need help? Visit RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center website.