No criminal charges will be filed against Matt Araiza

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Former Bills punter Matt Araiza, who was cut by the team once accusations of rape came to light, will not face criminal charges for the October 2021 incident.

Via Alaina Getzenberg of ESPN.com, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office decided not to pursue criminal charges against Araiza or the other San Diego State players involved in the alleged gang rape.

Said the D.A.: “Ultimately, prosecutors determined it is clear the evidence does not support the filing of criminal charges and there is no path to a potential criminal conviction. Prosecutors can only file charges when they ethically believe they can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

That’s a high-minded way of saying prosecutors hate to lose. And they do. The bar for a conviction is very high. If they don’t believe they can surpass it, they exercise their discretion to not pursue criminal charges.

Attorney Dan Gilleon, who represents the alleged victim, seemed to expect the outcome.

I’m not surprised,” Gilleon said, via Tim Graham of TheAthletic.com. “The police rarely pay much attention to cases where the victim is intoxicated. Here, the police made it clear in January 2022 that they weren’t interested in the case. They made that clear by ghosting my client and keeping her in the dark. It was only the media attention that caused the police to commence a dog and pony show long enough for them to say they conducted a thorough investigation.”

The civil case against Araiza continues. The standard of proof in that setting is much, much lower. Basically, it’s a 51-49 evidentiary balance.

Because the incident allegedly happened before he was drafted by the Bills in April 2022, Araiza would be subject to no discipline, regardless of the outcome of the civil case. He could be signed by any other team at any time — and maybe a team will give him an opportunity now that the cloud of potential criminal liability has evaporated.

The question is whether the talent justifies the P.R. hit, especially in light of the position Araiza plays. And, yes, teams will definitely engage in that analysis when deciding whether to sign him.

64 responses to “No criminal charges will be filed against Matt Araiza

  1. So they did it but I don’t want to hurt my conviction rate as these cases are tough to win. How about trying and letting the judge or jury decide.

  2. I live in San Diego, guy broke pretty much every college punting record. With their being no criminal liability or charges now, some team will definitely roll the dice on him. He had an 82 punt yard in the preseason for the Bills.

  3. NFL teams have employed way worse in the past, so my guess is he’ll be back in the next year or two punting for one of the 32 teams.

  4. The Bills owe this young man an apology and hopefully he has a chance to resume his career in the NFL right away.

  5. So her life is ruined by an attorney who got her to file charges KNOWING it wouldn’t go to trial and his life is ruined as well. And if he did it I don’t care if his life is ruined. But what an awful ending for all involved. But I will say there are a whole lot of college football players being accused with no evidence to support these cases. Hard to swallow.

  6. No criminal charges were filed against Deshaun Watson either. Doesn’t mean that the allegations aren’t true.

  7. Lots of downvotes for posts supporting this guy.

    My thoughts: dont get drunk with people who arent your family/closest friends (men and women, doesnt matter)….dumb things happen.

  8. Teach your boys to respect women. Teach your girls not to put themselves in positions like this.

  9. I assume the victim can still file a civil lawsuit?

    In that case, does she wait until he signs a new contract to go after that money?

  10. Somewhere there is a sum of about $230 million just waiting to dive into that boy’s pocket.

  11. Araiza: One alleged sexual assault, no job.

    Watson: Dozens of alleged sexual assaults, starting QB with biggest contract in NFL history.

    What a loathsome league.

  12. What happens when he loses the civil case – where it’s proven that he did what he’s been accused of? What will the “Sorry we ruined you life” and “The Bills owe this man an apology” knuckleheads say then? Just because the DA didn’t think there was enough evidence to get a conviction doesn’t mean Araiza (or anyone else) is “innocent” – and a person you’d want on your football team.

  13. Funny that there hasn’t been much talk about who know about this before the draft. The guy is a game changer, there were not 2 punters better than him in the NFL, let alone that draft class, yet he was the 3rd punter off the board. I think it’s interesting that some of these teams find out stuff like this and somehow keep it under wraps.

  14. The timing of the charges always seemed funny to me. They waited to file charges and the civil suit until after he officially made the Bills roster. Something just always seemed off about that.

  15. Lots of people saying Araiza is owed an apology but did any of you people apologize to DeShaun Watson who also wasn’t charged with a crime? Sounds like a double standard to me and I think we all know why. I’d say kick them both out the league. Not worth it. But no double standards please

  16. “clear the evidence does not support the filing of criminal charges”
    ———————–

    Seeems to me that the wording is that THEY THINK SHE LIED. Because that is not something they say if they just can’t win a case.

  17. The always smart and stellar Andrew Brandt would agree: Tolerance by teams in the NFL matches the skill level of a player…..so, in effect, a reputed-superstar talent will be forgiven by uncouth management (e.g., Cleveland) with NO regard for public opinion…..while a so-called more fringe player (e.g., punter) will NOT be tolerated in a more small market situation (e.g., Buffalo) where empathy and human equity justice is MORE important to management that possesses MORE scruples.

  18. There’s a reasonable chance he was either there and claimed ignorance or involved in some “other” way. Just because he’s not charged criminally doesn’t mean he wasn’t a participant in some form to a crime & he’s STILL can be held liable in a civil case.

  19. nflfan69 says:
    December 7, 2022 at 4:46 pm
    No criminal charges were filed against Deshaun Watson either. Doesn’t mean that the allegations aren’t true.
    ————————-
    I’m guessing you didn’t see the video of the alleged victim at the party in question stating multiple times that she was 18 and had much experience in certain sexual acts. This doesn’t mean the allegations aren’t true (because they really could be true), but there was zero chance of a conviction based on that alone, and not a lot of chance of a civil judgement either.

  20. Did it occur to anyone that he might be innocent? I have no idea but this article and most comments seem to be assuming he was guilty, and nobody wants to listen to the victim.
    The circumstances suggest they DID listen and found the claims not sufficient to be supported in a court of law.
    If she was assaulted that is horrible. But you havw to have more evidence of a crime than “a guy led me to a bedroom where I was thrown facedown and didn’t see anyone who assaulted me. “. Would YOU attempt to convict based on that?

  21. I teach my sons to respect women, control themselves and never put themselves in bad situations. I teach my daughters the same and also Jiu Jit Su and how to handle a firearm.

  22. “The question is whether the talent justifies the P.R. hit” – if Cleveland needed a punter he would be on the field before the ink on his contract was dry.

  23. Maybe there was a rape. Maybe there wasn’t. But the only reason people would have any doubt is because every once in a while, someone files a false charge. And that is very harmful to women. I think a proven rapist should be removed from our free society forever. Wherever they go, they don’t get to come back. No second chances. Rape is just a horrible thing. So please, no false rape allegations. It makes the real cases harder to prove.

  24. somebody will probably sign him …
    if not he could always be a supreme court justice …

  25. Well, that explains why the Bills private jet was seen taking off from San Diego this afternoon.

  26. charliecharger says:
    December 7, 2022 at 6:32 pm
    Maybe there was a rape. Maybe there wasn’t. But the only reason people would have any doubt is because every once in a while, someone files a false charge. And that is very harmful to women. I think a proven rapist should be removed from our free society forever. Wherever they go, they don’t get to come back. No second chances. Rape is just a horrible thing. So please, no false rape allegations. It makes the real cases harder to prove.

    —————————————————————————————

    False claims outnumbers actual assault 2 to 1

  27. Pretty cool that a single accusation without enough evidence for a conviction, is enough to take a mans livelihood away.

  28. The double standard is that this guy is out of the league and Watson is playing with a fully guaranteed contract. What’s the difference, both are reprehensible allegations. I won’t get posted if I say what the difference is between the 2 guys but if you have eyes you will know what matters!

  29. Disgusting. If you have money and power with connections, you can commit any crime you want with little to no punishment.

    Based on the testimonies, he’s clearly guilty. And, there’s no way prosecution shouldn’t occur for rape if the girl is drunk. Rape is still rape. What on earth is this world coming to?

  30. For people saying he deserves a 2nd chance – no he does not. If you read about this, you will learn he admitted to being with this girl, who is 17, she was drunk, and supplied her alcohol. He is alleged to have gang bumped (probably cant use the words) with two other players as she was passed out. He also told her that she should get tested for an STD. At best it makes him a statutory r apist. You can be not guilty, but he sure as poop shouldnt get a shot in the league.

  31. We’ve heard it before: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” And we know how that turned out. Doesn’t always mean that the guy is innocent.

  32. No apologies to this d-bag. And to you apologists…i hope you have daughters.

    He plied an underage girl with alcohol and raped her. Then when she was unconscious, handed her off to a couple of buddies who also raped her.
    Read that as many times as you need to until your conscience starts eating at you.

  33. do you people seriously believe his life is ruined over this? good lord. If he didn’t do it its nothing at all. Playing in the NFL doesn’t mean a thing in the world other than money. and you can’t take that with you when you’re gone. Most people who come into money have their lives ruined by it

  34. Carma says the Bill’s punter shanks one in the Superbowl and it’s returned for the game winning Score.

  35. As someone said upstream, he admitted to having sex with an underage girl and giving her an STD. That alone is very disturbing. So he’s definitely not “innocent”, just like Watson isn’t innocent. Even if he isn’t fully guilty of every alleged charge. It’s not as if the accusation was just made out of thin air.

  36. pittsburghdamned says:
    December 7, 2022 at 8:04 pm
    If football doesn’t work out, he’s got the credentials for a GOP congressman.

    That cracked me up, lol

  37. I don’t have an opinion of heinous crime vs. false accusation because I don’t have enough familiarity with the details for it to be informed. I will say this- the Bills investigated on their own and aren’t stupid. If they conceded the wasted pick that quickly, they certainly didn’t feel comfortable about his role in what happened.

  38. Wow, the kid had his name dragged and reputation destroyed for what? Such a shame that reckless accusations can completely derail someone’s livelihood without any accountability.

  39. Hey know what? None of us knows what happened. In this case everyone loses except perhaps a lawyer or two who got paid along the way. His career is sidetracked at a minimum and she has relived what happened over and over. And none of us knows what really happened and yet they are saddled with the opinions of millions of people like you and me who think they do.

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