Lawyers for a teenage girl who accused at least three former and current San Diego state soccer players — including one who is now an NFL player — of raping her at an off-campus party in 2021, shared photos of the attack on Friday. injuries she may have suffered. incurred during the incident.
Photos and videos show bruises on the then 17-year-old girl’s neck and legs, according to her attorney Dan Gilleon, who said they were taken last October in the days following the incident at a house less than a mile from campus.
All-American gambler Matt Araiza — whose game earned him the nickname “Point God” and a draft roster by the NFL’s Buffalo Bills — is in the lawsuit charged with having sex with the girl he knew was a high school student.
According to the lawsuit, they had sex outside the party before he took her to the house, where she was allegedly gang-raped. Current SDSU students Zavier Leonard and Nowlin “Pa’a” Ewaliko were also named as defendants in the lawsuit filed Thursday in the San Diego County Superior Court along with SLJ LLC, the company that owned the residence where the alleged attack took place.
On Friday, Gilleon also released photos via Twitter showing what his allegedly the girl’s diary entries handwritten in the days following the alleged attack. They seem to be describing her interview with SDPD and what she remembers from the night.
“I feel like I have to document how I feel to get through it, but I don’t even know how to feel. Part of me can’t help but feel guilty and wonder if I it could have been prevented,” a some of the entries read.
The alleged victim’s father sent NBC a statement Friday that his daughter and their family have been abandoned by police and the university.
“After now more than 10 months since the incident and reporting reports to the SDPD and SDSUPD and more than 2 and a half months of media coverage, the SDPD has made no arrests, SDSU has made no updates on their Title IX investigation , and the DA has not yet filed criminal charges,” he said. “In an effort to protect other women from this recurrence, to hold those who participated accountable, and to continue the healing process and try to gain some semblance of control where she didn’t have one, my daughter thought it was time that it is the victim’s job to seek justice is disheartening, especially since our family has placed our trust in the system for so long while the participants are free to continue with their normal lives.”
Former SDSU All-American Matt Araiza is one of three former and current Aztec players charged with gang rape of a teenager last fall. Dave Summers of NBC 7 spoke to the alleged victim’s attorney about the complaint.
Kerry Armstrong, Araiza’s attorney, told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that he had not reviewed the complaint but called the rape allegation false. He said his investigator has spoken with witnesses from the party who contradict the charges against Araiza. NBC 7 reached out for further comment, but heard nothing back.
Friday night, Araiza made his first public comment on the lawsuit, telling The Athletic and ESPN: “The facts of the incident are not what they are portrayed in the lawsuit or in the press. I look forward to setting the record straight.”
After Bills’ preseason finale Friday, head coach Doug McDermott told Bills.com: “It’s not a situation that I or we take lightly. It’s very serious. I understand the sensitivity of the situation and it’s clear we’re working.” have to do to continue figuring this out. My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to those involved.”
A lawyer for Ewaliko said it was all an attempt by the 17-year-old’s lawyer to pressure the prosecutor to file criminal charges. And he doubted the girl’s credibility.
“We’ve seen some bruises; we don’t know who is responsible,” attorney Marc Carlos said. “However, if you have an alleged victim who says they were in and out of consciousness, you kind of question the credibility of the recall at the time because you selectively remember things that you may or may not have actually experienced.”
Leonard’s attorney Jamahl Kersey gave the following statement to NBC 7 on Friday.
“It is premature to comment, the matter is still under investigation. No conclusion should be drawn, however alarming the allegations are.”
The lawsuit alleges that Araiza “could notice that” [the teen] was heavily drunk” and handed her a drink that she did not see him pour. “According to information and belief, this drink contained not only alcohol but other intoxicating substances,” the indictment said.
The teen was reportedly led into a room that Leonard, Ewaliko and at least one other person were already in. She went in and out of consciousness as the men raped her, according to the indictment, but she recalled seeing what appeared to be the light of a cell phone in her peripheral vision as if someone was recording a video.
The complaint said the alleged rape lasted about an hour and a half and ended when the party was shut down. The teenager, who has now turned 18, reported the alleged incident to SDPD the following day, the complaint said.
The complaint also alleges that Araiza confirmed he had sex with the teen the next day during a phone call between the two, telling the teen that he tested positive for chlamydia and suggested she get tested.
“He apologized,” Gilleon said in an interview on Thursday.
At the time of the alleged incident, Araiza was 21 years old and Leonard and Ewaliko were around 18, according to the indictment. Leonard is listed as a red shirt freshman and Ewaliko is no longer part of the team, according to the university’s roster.
Araiza won the Ray Guy Award, presented each year to college football’s best gambler, in his final season with SDSU. He graduated from Rancho Bernardo High School in 2017.
NBC 7 also contacted the Buffalo Bills, who said that “due to the serious nature of the complaint, we have thoroughly investigated this matter. As this is an pending civil matter, we will have no other comments at this time.”
The NFL said it was aware of the matter but declined to comment.
The San Diego Police Department closed its criminal investigation into the alleged incident in early August without going into detail about what was discovered. Recent requests for comment have not been answered.
The prosecutor’s father is now demanding accountability and justice for his daughter. NBC 7’s Artie Ojeda has the story.
No arrests have been made, and a spokesman for the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office said on Thursday that the SDPD’s investigation is under review, adding, “there is no timeline for how long it will take.”
A few days before SDPD closed its investigation, and nine months after the alleged rape, SDSU President Adela de la Torre announced that the university was launching its own investigation. A statement from SDSU sent on Thursday said the university’s investigation is ongoing.
“The university takes allegations of sexual assault seriously. As this is an active university investigation and in view of privacy laws (FERPA), the university cannot provide specific details about its investigation. However, SDSU’s independent investigation process remains active and is ongoing under its system-wide policy from California State University: CSU Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Exploitation, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Retaliation (Non-Discrimination Policy) Behaviors, as a result of a thorough investigation, include disciplinary action, but are not limited to suspension, dismissal or removal.”
A letter to students Friday said that, as their investigation is still ongoing, “the university cannot provide specific details.”
SDSU has been criticized for the time it has taken to launch their own investigation into the alleged rape, but the university says they have postponed an investigation at the request of the San Diego Police Department.
“SDPD requested on October 19, 2021 and in subsequent letters that SDSU — including UPD and the Title IX agency — would not take any action that could jeopardize SDPD’s criminal investigation, including initiating a university-led investigation” , a university spokesperson told NBC. 7 in an email.
On July 22, SDPD gave SDSU the green light to start the investigation, the school said.
“From the moment we learned of the alleged attack, our only interest was in justice and legal liability for anyone who has broken the law,” de la Torre wrote. “As I have said before, no one is above the law, and anyone who has broken the law and university policy must bear the consequences.”
The teen’s father told NBC 7 that the university’s investigation felt like “a public relations act” to him.
On Friday, he also criticized the DA’s office for their lack of criminal prosecution in a written statement to NBC 7, which said in part:
“In an effort to protect other women from this recurrence, to hold those who participated accountable, and to continue the healing process and try to gain some semblance of control where she didn’t have one, my daughter thought it was time that it is the victim’s job to seek justice is disheartening, especially since our family has placed our trust in the system for so long while the participants are free to continue with their normal lives.”
NBC 7 again contacted the district attorney’s office on Friday, but has heard nothing.
SDSU has launched an investigation into the alleged rape of a 17-year-old girl by five football players. Nicole Gomez of NBC 7 explains why the school is now investigating the October 2021 case.