A civil lawsuit was filed Thursday in state court accusing three past and present San Diego State University Football players – including A top gambler Now in the NFL – from the gang rape of a 17-year-old girl last year at an off-campus party.
Matt Ariza, 22, whose vigorous and precise kick in college earned him the nickname “God’s Punt,” was accused of having sex with a minor outside the home and then moved her to a room where she was repeatedly raped. The lawsuit, filed in San Diego County Superior Court, alleges that the then-high school student slipped in and out of her consciousness, but she remembers moments when the men took turns assaulting her.
The other men named in the complaint are Xavier Leonard and Nolin “Pa” Iwaliko. Leonard is on the college’s Fall Football League roster as a freshman for the red jersey. Iwaliko was on the team last year as a freshman but is not on the current roster.
Ariza’s attorney, Keri Armstrong, said he had not reviewed the complaint but called the rape charge false. He said his interrogator spoke to witnesses from the party who contradict the allegations against Arizah.
“It’s extortionate because now he’s with the Buffalo bills,” Armstrong said. “There is no doubt in my mind that Matt Ariza raped that girl.”
Attorney Marc Xavier Carlos, who is representing Iwaliko in an ongoing criminal investigation into the incident, said he could not comment on the lawsuit and was still investigating what happened. He said his client is no longer in San Diego. Attorney Jamal Kersey, who is representing Leonard, said he had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment. Noting that a criminal investigation is underway, he said no conclusions should be drawn about his client.
The lawsuit comes as the state of San Diego faces continued criticism after a Investigation Times It found that the university decided not to alert the campus community about the alleged gang rape and waited more than seven months to begin its own investigation.
Campus officials said police have asked them not to take any action that would harm their investigations and that federal law is not required to file a crime notice. Following The Times’ report, San Diego state officials began publishing some information about the October incident On the campus website.
No arrests were made and the San Diego police have not publicly identified any suspects. Investigators recently submitted their investigations to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office to determine whether charges should be filed.
The university launched a ninth law investigation last month after city police notified the school that doing so would not jeopardize the criminal investigation. Title IX is the federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded educational institutions. Ariza and Yualiko will not have to comply with the on-campus investigation because they are no longer in school.
At San Diego State, he became the second player in program history to win the unanimous All-American first-team honors. He set several NCAA records when he was young last season, including most kicks over 50 yards, and he won a race Ray Jay Award As the best college gambler in the nation. After being named to the Mountain West Conference Special Teams player of the yearannounced the NFL draft.
It is not clear whether the lawsuit will affect Ariza’s pro standing.
The lawsuit’s allegation comes on the heels of the NFL’s recent announcement that Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson Serves 11 commentary matches No pay after more than two dozen women were accused of sexual misconduct during massage sessions. Watson must also pay a $5 million fine, undergo evaluation by behavioral experts and follow the proposed treatment program.
“We recently became aware of a civil complaint relating to Matt from October 2021,” the bill said in a statement to The Times on Thursday. “Given the seriousness of the complaint, we have conducted a thorough examination of the matter. As this is an ongoing civil case, we will have no further comment at this point.”
Ariza’s name appeared in connection with the rape allegation in at least one report that student-athletes submitted within days of the party to San Diego state officials through an anonymous on-campus reporting system.
“I hope this isn’t true for Matt,” one student said in an October 26 report reviewed by The Times along with other internal records in the case. “But if this is true, I hope he gets the repercussions he deserves [the] The girl gets justice.”
At that time, it was San Diego State Aztec football team She was enjoying one of her best seasons in years.
Records show that an athlete told campus officials that students who heard about the incident were wondering why campus officials weren’t investigating and whether coaches were “trying to get rid of it because our soccer team is doing well.”
“99% of the football players are aware of the rape of five people, so the rest of the student-athletes are wondering why nothing is done,” the student said.
Last week, San Diego State President Adela de la Torre led a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the team’s new home, Snapdragon Stadium, which is estimated to cost $310 million, the cornerstone of a multi-billion dollar campus development project.
The Aztecs opened the 2022 season at their new stadium on September 3 against Arizona in a game scheduled to be broadcast by CBS nationwide.
The woman is at the center of the case speak out For the first time last month. The 18-year-old said she was traumatized and had to finish her last year of high school online. The Times generally does not identify alleged victims of sex crimes, and the lawsuit identifies her as Jane Doe.
The off-campus party began on October 16, and the attack, according to the lawsuit, occurred in the early hours of October 17.
In the lawsuit, the woman said she was already drinking with her friends when they arrived at the party on Rockford Drive, and Ariza, who lived in the house, gave her a drink. The complaint said she believed the drink “contained not only alcohol, but other intoxicating substances”.
Armstrong, Ariza’s attorney, said he did not believe the teen was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
According to the lawsuit, the teen told Areeza that she was a high school student, and although he could see that she was very drunk, he took her outside and asked her for oral sex, then had sex with her. Then Ariza took her into a bedroom in which Leonard, Yualiko and at least one other man were, the complaint alleged, and threw her on the face of the bed first. The lawsuit said she was raped for an hour and a half until the party closed.
During the assault, she noticed a light as if someone was filming a video with a mobile phone, according to the complaint.
“The teenager came out of the room crying blood. Her nose and belly button were pulled and her ear pierced, and she was also bleeding from her vagina.”
The lawsuit said that once she ran away, she told her friends that she had been raped. A day later, she went to the city police department, where she waited about five hours before an officer spoke to her. She was taken to the hospital and underwent a comprehensive rape examination.
At the police’s request, she made alibi calls – recorded by investigators – with the men named in the suit who “the police identified were in the room when the rape occurred.” The alleged complaint asserted that Areeza, in a phone call in late October, had sex and recommended that she get tested for a sexually transmitted disease. Later in the conversation, I asked him, “And do we have real sex?” Ariza allegedly changed his tone and replied, “That’s Ariza died. I don’t remember anything that happened that night.”
A Times review of the text messages showed that San Diego police investigators guided the young woman through the pretext calls. The woman’s attorney, Daniel Gillon, said police did not provide recordings of those calls or his client’s police report. He said the results of the rape test were not released.
The teen has openly criticized the city’s police department’s handling of her case, which she believes came to a halt after the new year, and the inaction of the state of San Diego. Her father, who spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity, said he shared his daughter’s account with campus police three days after the party, but that no information was provided about the investigation or the complaint process under Act Nine.
The university said it asked San Diego police to provide the information to the victim, but did not answer repeated questions from The Times asking why campus police did not provide this information directly to the victim’s father.