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The lawyer for the woman who accused former Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza and two other college football players of raping her at a party last year slammed the team following the player’s release.
The Bills released Araiza two days after the lawsuit came to light. According to the Los Angeles Times, a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court accuses Araiza of having sex with the minor outside a home and later bringing her to an off-campus party where she was repeatedly raped.
The alleged victim, who was in high school at the time, said she was in and out of consciousness but can recall the moments where the men repeatedly assaulted her.
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Dan Gilleon, who represents the alleged victim, issued a statement following Araiza’s release saying the Bills ignored concerns he raised about the player when contacting the team in late July.
“The Buffalo Bills had no choice but to cut their young punter after so badly botching their response to our claim: they ignored us, as though what I warned them would happen could be avoided if they just kept their heads in the sand. This is what enablers do,” Gilleon said in a statement to The Buffalo News.
“My client’s life was forever scarred in October 2021, but she handled herself with grace and dignity. Not once did she express to me a desire to hurt her assaulters out of revenge or hatred. She never asked for a pound of flesh. Her only ask was the kind of justice that might save other young women from the hell she experienced.”
Gilleon added his client was not after money and also criticized Araiza's lawyer, Kerry Armstrong, for suggesting it was.
The release came less than a week after the Bills cleared the way to make Araiza their starting punter. The team was aware of the ongoing investigation. Buffalo general manager Billy Beane said the team was not aware of the allegations made against Araiza at the time they selected him in the sixth round of the draft in May. He said, had they known, they wouldn’t have elected hm.
“The last 48 hours have been very difficult for a lot of people. It’s been tough. And we sympathize with this whole situation, all the parties involved, this young woman, what she went through,” Beane said in a news conference. “But at this time, we just think it’s the best move for everyone to move on from Matt and let him take care of this situation and focus on that. So, we’re gonna part ways there.”
Bills coach Sean McDermott said he was “hurt.”
BILLS PUNTER MATT ARAIZA NOT SUBJECT TO NFL PERSONAL CONDUCT POLICY AMID RAPE ALLEGATIONS: REPORT
“It’s not easy to to hear about some of the things that I’ve heard about over the last several hours say. Haven’t slept a lot to be honest with you.”
Araiza’s only comment since the lawsuit came to light was on Friday.
“The facts of the incident are not what they are portrayed in the lawsuit or in the press. I look forward to quickly setting the record straight,” he said.
Armstrong defended his client in a statement to The Associated Press.
“I am sure he is very upset and disappointed that his career with the Bills ended not because he played poorly, but because of false allegations leveled against him by a young lady and her attorney. I hope he is back in the NFL soon,” Armstrong said.
Beane said it was unclear who first informed the team of the investigation into Araiza’s alleged wrongdoings. When questioned about not contacting Gilleon for more information, he said the team’s attorney, Kathryn D’Angelo, “had heard what he had to say, and that’s when we began our process.”
“We’re not perfect. But I can tell you, we just tried to do what was right,” Beane said. “In our heart of hearts, I can lay my head down at night knowing that I’ve tried to do what’s right.”
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A police investigation is ongoing. The results of the investigation are in the hands of the district attorney. There’s no timeline as to when a decision will be made on whether or not to press charges.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.