The parents of axed Buffalo Bills kicker Matt Araiza have issued a ferocious statement defending their son amid allegations that he was involved in the gang rape of a 17-year-old girl last year.
The 22-year-old punter was released by the Super Bowl favorite Bills on Saturday, and his career is in tatters as he awaits more news on the civil lawsuit filed last Thursday.
Amid the backlash, Araiza’s parents have now released a statement of their own to the media, revealing death threats sent to their entire family, and reiterating that their son should be ‘innocent until proven guilty’.
As reported by KUSI-TV, the statement reads: ‘The rule of law is innocent until proven guilty. That is not our experience. There has been a war waged against our son.
He has been tried and convicted in the media based on information released solely from the alleged victim and her attorney, much of it through social media. People have taken his information as factual, when it is not.’
NFL player Matt Araiza has been released by the Buffalo Bills after being accused of gang rape
The lawsuit, filed in San Diego County Superior Court, accuses Araiza, Zavier Leonard (right) and Nowlin ‘Pa’a’ Ewaliko (left) of gang-raping a then-17-year-old girl at a Halloween party at a home where Araiza had been living
The message goes on to explain the ‘vitriol’ Araiza has received since the allegations were made public, and questions why the former Bills star is the ‘only one receiving this kind of treatment’, appearing to nod toward the two others also accused of gang Rape.
‘He has been extorted, discriminated against, harassed and the subject of multiple and continuous threats of violence and death,’ the statement continues. ‘He has been released from his job and our entire family continues to receive horrific threats of violence and death. We have all been canceled. Every member of our family.’
The staunch defense of their son ends by speaking about ‘salacious rumors growing as fact’, before adding: ‘There are multiple witness reports to deny the claims that are made against him. The legal system is designed to find the facts and make decisions. They should be allowed to do that.’
The lawsuit, filed in San Diego County Superior Court, accuses Araiza, Zavier Leonard and Nowlin ‘Pa’a’ Ewaliko of gang raping a then-17-year-old girl at a Halloween party.
The plaintiff, now 18, is identified in the complaint as ‘Jane Doe’ because she was underage at the time.
There is a criminal investigation into the allegations, according to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the lawsuit. No arrests have been made and San Diego Police have not publicly identified any suspects.
Araiza waves to fans after a preseason NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Orchard Park, New York on August 13
Araiza would not be subject to the NFL personal conduct policy over the alleged rape because it took place in 2021, before he was a league player.
The lawsuit states that the teen had been drinking with friends when they decided to go to the party on October 17 and she was ‘observably intoxicated upon arrival.’ She became separated from her friends and was approached by Araiza who offered her a drink, according to the lawsuit.
She believes the drink ‘not only contained alcohol, but other intoxicating substances,’ the complaint said.
She told Araiza, who was 21 at the time, that she was a high school senior, according to the lawsuit. She alleges he then led her to a side yard where he asked her to perform oral sex and then had sex with her before taking her to a bedroom in the home.
There were at least three other men in the room, including Leonard and Ewaliko, according to the complaint. The lawsuit states that Araiza threw the teen onto the bed and she went in and out of consciousness while she was being raped. It added, ‘but she does remember some moments from the horrific gang rape.’
Buffalo Bills punter Araiza told his 17-year-old rape accuser in a police-monitored phone call that she needed to be tested for chlamydia after an alleged hour-and-a-half-long attack that left her ‘bloody and crying,’ according to a court filing obtained by DailyMail.com
Bills GM Brandon Beane said Araiza was released as the situation is ‘bigger than football’
After an hour-and-a-half, the teen “stumbled out of the room bloody and crying,” according to the complaint. Her nose, belly button, and ear piercings had been pulled out.
She immediately told her friends about the rape and the next day reported it to the police and underwent a rape exam, according to the lawsuit. Officers coached her on calling Araiza, which she did 10 days later as detectives recorded it, according to the complaint.
During the call, Araiza acknowledged having sex with her, the lawsuit states, but later, when she asked him ‘And did we have actual sex?’ he responded ‘This is Matt Araiza. I don’t remember anything that happened that night’ and hung up.
But before getting off the phone, Araiza told Doe to get tested for chlamydia.