Former Bills player Matt Araiza said he plans to sue attorney Dan Gilleon for defamation in a civil lawsuit filed by the attorney alleging the player participated in a gang-rape.
Araiza was released by the Bills last August after he was accused of raping a 17-year-old girl along with two of his former San Diego State football teammates near the school’s campus in the fall of 2021.
Last month, however, it was concluded by the DA’s office that Araiza was apparently not present during the alleged gang-rape in 2021. However, there is an ongoing civil lawsuit that remains active.
Now, speaking on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on Tuesday night, Araiza revealed that he has retained an attorney and will not settle the pending civil lawsuit as he intends to sue Gilleon for defamation.
“I’ve already hired a lawyer for it and things have already been worked out,” Araiza told HBO’s Andrea Kremer. ‘I will never waive my right to sue him. It’s coming.’
Gilleon, who was also interviewed on the program, insisted that Araiza had not necessarily been exonerated when asked about the conclusion by the DA’s office that the player had left the party at the time of the alleged gang-rape.
“We’re not saying he was and we’re not saying he wasn’t,” Gilleon said. “Let’s just say he wasn’t one of the men in there. That does not absolve him of responsibility’.
The new theory, reportedly put forward by Gilleon on the show, is that Araiza was ‘part of a plan among several men to target his client, get her drunk and take turns having sex with her throughout the night.’
However, this theory was not included in the original complaint.
“Our contention is that he contributed greatly to the injury she suffered that night,” Gilleon said.
‘He had sex with my client. After that she ended up having sex with several guys and came out bloody in shock.
‘Ended up in hospital, ended up with the police and ended up traumatised. So that’s what I mean by the gang rape. Gang rapes can occur for two days. They can occur over time. They can occur in several places. So that’s the clarification’.
Araiza, who said he was in shock when he first read the initial complaint, told HBO he was certain he had ‘never participated in any gang rape.’
He admitted having sex with the girl but said he believed it was consensual as he claimed the contact had been initiated by her and she had ‘made her intentions clear’.
Araiza, who currently lives at home with his parents, admitted sleeping with the girl just 15-20 minutes after meeting her was ‘stupid’ but insisted it didn’t deserve to be labeled a ‘gang rapist’ by the media.
He also claimed that he was judged in the court of public opinion ‘within seconds’ without an opportunity to defend himself.
In May, Yahoo Sports reported a 200-page unsealed document, including a transcript of a conversation in which a deputy prosecutor told the girl, who was 17 at the time of the alleged incident, why charges against Araiza were not pursued.
The DA’s office had apparently concluded that Araiza had left the party in San Diego at 12:30 a.m. on the night of October 15, 2021 — about an hour before the gang-rape Araiza was accused of participating in was supposed to have taken place.
“He wasn’t even at the party anymore,” Trisha Amador is quoted as telling the girl by Yahoo. “All I know is that at that time suspect Araiza is gone from the party.”
The report added that there is footage of the encounter with the girl, with the time stamp being 1:30am. Araiza apparently had a witness who helped prosecutors conclude he had left about an hour earlier.
In February of this year, Araiza’s agent denied he was signing with a Mexican team in an attempt to revive his career and said his client is hoping for a second chance in the NFL.
He was released by the Bills in late August, amid the allegations and mounting public pressure, despite winning the starting job in training camp.
The Ray Guy Award winner — given to the best player in college football — was a sixth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, beating out veteran Matt Haack as the Bills punter.
When the lawsuit became public on Aug. 26, Buffalo initially defended Araiza before eventually cutting the then-22-year-old two days later.
General manager Brandon Beane said the organization was aware of Araiza’s version of events before bringing him to Orchard Park.