SDSU says ‘no findings’ against punter Araiza

BUFFALO, N.Y. — San Diego State University concluded Friday that there are no findings against former Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza after conducting an investigation into allegations of rape and gang rape. A criminal investigation was also conducted, with no charges filed, and a civil case remains ongoing in the matter.

“While the university cannot provide specific information related to its student disciplinary proceedings and investigations, or specific information related to student records, it can confirm that none of the former students named in the civil suit are now the subject of an active investigation,” SDSU said in a statement provided to ESPN. “In addition, they are not currently enrolled, active students or affiliated with any athletics activities.

“SDSU reserves the right to reinstate investigations based on new developments.”

The student conduct investigation proceeded in July 2022 after the San Diego Police Department told the university that doing so would no longer interfere with its investigation after initially asking SDSU to wait. The night of the alleged rapes was in October 2021, and the girl, who was 17 at the time, reported to the police the next day. The police went on to investigate the allegations for nine months before turning over their investigation to prosecutors on Aug. 5, 2022. The police did not recommend charges be filed.

The Bills released Araiza on Aug. 27, two days after the lawsuit was filed.

On Dec. 7, 2022, the San Diego District Attorney’s office announced that Araiza and the other students listed on the civil suit, Zavier Leonard and Nowlin Ewaliko, would not face criminal charges.

The civil case against Araiza remains ongoing, with a trial date still set for October 2023. Dan Gilleon, the woman’s attorney, told ESPN in a text that his client did not speak to SDSU, reiterating that she was not an SDSU student and that the location of the alleged events was not on SDSU’s campus.

Gilleon wrote that the conclusion of no findings by SDSU is “meaningless.”

Araiza’s attorney, Dick Semerdjian, told ESPN that SDSU did not request an interview with Araiza either for the investigation, and that they were informed by SDSU of the findings on Thursday.

SDSU did not share extensive details about the two other former SDSU students listed in the lawsuit, stating, “It is accurate that Matt Araiza was not a named respondent in the university’s investigation; however, in terms of other individuals named as respondents, and who have been part of active investigations under the student code of conduct this past year, the university cannot share specific information about related investigative proceedings or decisions. It is inaccurate to say that the university has dropped “charges” against any of the named respondents to the investigation. While we are able to comment about Araiza given that he has provided permission to the university to do so, the university cannot comment nor disclose information about the resolution of other students’ cases due to privacy restrictions.”

No further investigations into Araiza are ongoing. Araiza submitted a claim against SDSU for damage to his reputation through the California State University Office of the Chancellor, Systemwide Risk Management.

The CSU Office of the Chancellor told ESPN that the claim was returned “based on insufficient evidence and untimeliness.” Araiza partly filed the claim to preserve the statute of limitations, but does not currently have plans for any action against SDSU. The form indicates that claims should be filed within six months after the incident or a separate sheet with explanation for the late filing should be included.

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SDSU finds no evidence against punter Araiza.

San Diego State University has cleared former Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza of allegations of rape and gang rape following an investigation and a criminal investigation that led to no charges being filed. The civil case remains ongoing, with a trial date set for October 2023. Araiza’s attorney claims that SDSU did not request an interview with his client during the investigation. The university said it reserves the right to reinstate investigations after new developments, although no further investigations into Araiza are currently ongoing. Araiza submitted a claim against SDSU for damage to his reputation, which was returned based on insufficient evidence and untimeliness.

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