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The lawyer for the woman who accused the former Matt Araiza, Buffalo Bills punter and two other college football players of raping her at a party last year criticized the team after the player was released.
The Bills published Araiza two days after the revelation of the lawsuit. According to the Los Angeles Times, a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court accuses Araiza of having sex with the minor outside a house and then bringing her to an off-campus party where she been repeatedly raped.
The alleged victim, who was in high school at the time, said she was conscious and unconscious but remembers times when the men repeatedly assaulted her.
Dan Gilleon, who is representing the alleged victim, released a statement after Araiza’s release saying the Bills ignored concerns he raised about the player when they contacted the team in late July.
“The Buffalo Bills had no choice but to cut their young punter after they botched their response to our request so badly: they ignored us, as if what I warned them could be avoided if they kept the head in the sand. That’s what the enablers do,” Gilleon said in a statement to The Buffalo News.
“My client’s life was marked forever in October 2021, but she behaved with grace and dignity. Not once did she express to me a desire to hurt her attackers out of revenge or hatred. ever asked for a pound of flesh. Her only ask was for the kind of justice that could save other young women from the hell she lived through.”
Gilleon added that his client was not after the money and also criticized Araiza’s lawyer, Kerry Armstrong, for suggesting that was the case.
The exit came less than a week after the Bills paved 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 unaware of the allegations against Araiza when they selected him in the sixth round of the draft in May. He said that if they had known, they would not have elected him.
“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’s been through,” Beane said during a press conference. “But right now we just think it’s the best decision for everyone to let Matt and let him deal with this situation and focus on that. So we’re going to part ways there. “
Bills coach Sean McDermott said he was “hurt”.
“It’s not easy to hear about some of the things I’ve heard over the past few hours. I haven’t slept much to be honest with you.”
Araiza’s only comment since the lawsuit was revealed 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’m sure he’s very upset and disappointed that his career with the Bills ended not because he played badly, but because of false allegations made against him by a young woman and her lawyer. I hopefully he’ll be back in the NFL soon.” Armstrong said.
Beane said it was unclear who first informed the team about the investigation into Araiza’s alleged wrongdoing. Asked about not contacting Gilleon for more information, he said team attorney Kathryn D’Angelo “heard what he had to say, and that’s what he said. that’s when we started our process”.
“We’re not perfect. But I can tell you, we just tried to do what was right,” Beane said. “Deep in our hearts, I can lay my head at night knowing that I’ve tried to do what’s right.”
A police investigation is underway. The results of the investigation are in the hands of the public prosecutor. There is no timeline as to when a decision will be made on whether or not to file a complaint.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.