SAN DIEGO — A civil suit is moving forward against former San Diego State football players, including NFL draftee Matt Araiza, accused of an off-campus sexual assault involving an under-aged girl.
Friday in court a trial date was set for October 20, 2023.
“It’s a civil case, not a criminal case, so the difference is the burden of proof. In this case, it’s a preponderance of the evidence and the jury will hear that Matt did not commit assault on this woman,” said Araiza’s attorney Dick Semerdjian.
The suit claims Araiza raped a 17-year-old girl at a house party in the College Area in October 2021.
The accuser, now 18, told police she was assaulted by a group of men.
“Matt Araiza never went into the house with the plaintiff. There’s absolutely no evidence that occurred. We believe that plaintiff fully knows now that he never went to the bedroom and for some reason, she’s refusing to take down statements that have been posted on her behalf that lead people to believe that he was there,” said Kristen Bush, an attorney for Araiza.
Last December, the District Attorney’s office declined to move forward with criminal charges against Araiza and two other Aztec players, saying there was “no path to a potential criminal conviction.”
Araiza responded claiming he is innocent and any contact with the accuser was consensual.
Araiza, a star kicker for SDSU, was drafted by the Buffalo Bills, then released when allegations first surfaced.
His attorneys said there is no reason to settle the civil case.
“He is steadfast in his position. He will not be extorted. He is going to take this to the end and he believes it’s important, not only for the truth, but it is important for his career,” Semerdjian said.
Also, a motion was filed to release the DA’s investigation, along with search warrants and police reports.
Araiza’s attorneys expect to eventually have those documents, along with a cell phone video showing the alleged assault.
“We’re going to get those documents. It’s going to be a key part of the evidence that we’re going to present to the jury. We believe that the evidence is going to be unequivocal to the extent it will exonerate Matt as it relates to the allegations made in this civil complaint,” Semerdjian said.