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Public Safety

SDSU no longer investigating Araiza, two others in rape allegation

San Diego State place kicker Matt Araiza (2) plays during an NCAA football game against Utah on Sept. 18, 2021 in Carson, Calif.
Denis Poroy
San Diego State place kicker Matt Araiza (2) plays during an NCAA football game against Utah on Sept. 18, 2021 in Carson, Calif.

San Diego State University announced Thursday that Matt Araiza and two others accused of raping a teenage girl at a party off campus are no longer part of a student conduct investigation into the incident.

Araiza, along with Xavier Leonard and Nowlin "Pa'a" Ewaliko, was accused of sexual assault by a then 17-year-old at a Halloween party in October 2021. All three men denied the allegations and the District Attorney's Office in December 2022 declined to file charges saying there was not enough evidence for a conviction.

The now 18-year-old woman filed a civil lawsuit in August 2022 against the three men, who were all on the Aztec football team at the time.


In a statement, SDSU said none of the men named in the civil suit are now "subject of an active investigation."

The university did not provide any other details, saying it "cannot provide specific information related to its student disciplinary, proceedings and investigations, or specific information related to student records."

"SDSU reserves the right to reinstate investigations based on new developments," the statement said.

The university also said they are no longer enrolled in the school.

SDSU was heavily criticized for not starting its own student conduct investigation for months when the allegations first surfaced, deferring to the San Diego Police Department. The school said SDPD had asked it not to start its own investigation for fear it might taint the criminal investigation.


SDPD completed its investigation in August 2022, 10 months after the woman, identified only as Jane Doe, first reported the assault. SDSU started its own investigation around that time, saying it had gotten the green light from police to do so.

Since the allegations surfaced, Araiza, who the Buffalo Bills had drafted, was released from the team, derailing his NFL career.

In April, the audio recording of the meeting between Jane Doe and Deputy District Attorney Trisha Amador was leaked. In the recording, which KPBS has a transcript of, Amador told the young woman Araiza was not seen on any of the video evidence police had gathered and a witness said they saw Araiza leaving the party.

In the civil complaint, Doe had alleged that Araiza, after having sex with her in the sideyard, led her into a room inside the house where several members of the football team gang-raped her.

Araiza admitted to having sex with Doe, saying it was consensual, but denied ever entering the house.

His attorneys had asked a judge last month to unseal the video clips, saying they will help prove their client's innocence. The San Diego City Attorney's Office and Doe's lawyer argued against that saying the videos are child pornography.

The judge approved the request to unseal them, but stayed the ruling until May 31.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.