Bills signs Sam Martin as new punter after releasing Matt Araiza following gang rape allegations

The Buffalo Bills have signed a new punter after firing Matt Araiza last week following allegations that he was involved in the gang rape of a minor.

Sam Martin has joined the Bills on a one-year contract after playing with the Broncos for the past two seasons.

A lawsuit filed Aug. 25 in San Diego County Superior Court accuses Araiza, Zavier Leonard and Nowlin ‘Pa’a’ Ewaliko of gang raping a then 17-year-old girl at a Halloween party.

Sam Martin has joined the Bills as the team's new punter after two years with the Broncos

Sam Martin has joined the Bills as the team’s new punter after two years with the Broncos

The plaintiff is now 18 years old but is identified in the complaint as “Jane Doe” because she was a minor at the time.

Bills’ GM Brandon Beane said at a press conference after Araiza’s release that the team was not aware of any allegations against Araiza before picking him for this year’s draft.

“We sympathize with this whole situation, everyone involved, this young woman and what she went through,” Beane said. “Ultimately it is a legal situation, we do not know all the facts. That makes it difficult.

Matt Araiza released by Buffalo Bills after being accused of gang rape

Matt Araiza released by Buffalo Bills after being accused of gang rape

“But at this point we just think the best move of all is to walk away from Matt and let him take care of this situation and focus on that. There we part ways.

“It is a very serious situation, serious nature and allegations. We don’t have the means to put the facts together. We try to do our best to be thoughtful and not judgmental.

“How transparent was Matt? Matt gave us his version of events, that’s the point. There were a lot of things we couldn’t get our hands on with the resources we have.’

GM Brandon Beane said Araiza was released as the situation was

GM Brandon Beane said Araiza was released as the situation was “bigger than football”.

For his part, Araiza released a statement denying the allegations.

“The facts of the incident are not as presented in the lawsuit or in the press,” he said last week after being ruled out of a preseason game.

‘I’m looking forward to breaking the record quickly.’

Araiza’s parents also released a lengthy statement defending their son.

As KUSI-TV reports, the statement says: “The rule of law is innocent until proven guilty. That’s not our experience. A war was waged against our son.

“He was tried and convicted in the media based on information released solely by the alleged victim and her lawyer, much of it via social media. People have taken his information as factual when it is not.’

“He was blackmailed, discriminated against, harassed and repeatedly and continuously threatened with violence and death,” the statement said. “He has been fired from his job and our entire family continues to face horrific threats of violence and death. We’ve all been cancelled. Every member of our family.”

The statement concludes by speaking of “salacious rumors turning into fact” before adding: “There are several witness accounts that dispute the allegations made against him. The legal system is designed to find facts and make decisions. They should be allowed to do that.’

The lawsuit, which says the alleged gang rape occurred in 2021, says the teenage victim had been drinking with friends when they decided to go to a party on Oct. 17 where she was “visibly drunk on arrival.” “. She was separated from her friends and approached by Araiza, who offered her a drink, according to the lawsuit.

She believes the drink “contained not only alcohol but also other intoxicating substances,” according to the complaint.

She told Araiza, who was 21 at the time, that she was a high school grad, according to the lawsuit.

Nowlin'Pa'a' Ewaliko is also accused of gang raping a then 17-year-old girl

Zavier Leonard is the third man to be accused of the gang rape, which is said to have taken place at a party

The lawsuit, filed in San Diego County Superior Court, alleges that Araiza, Zavier Leonard (right) and Nowlin ‘Pa’a’ Ewaliko (left) gang raped a then 17-year-old girl at a Halloween party at a house where Araiza lived would have

She claims he then led her to a side yard where he asked her to perform oral sex and then had sex with her before taking her to a bedroom in the house.

There were at least three other men in the room, including Leonard and Ewaliko, according to the complaint. The lawsuit states that Araiza threw the teenager onto the bed and she passed out during the rape.

“But she does remember some moments of the horrifying gang rape,” the lawsuit added.

After an hour and a half, the teenager “stumbled out of the room bleeding and crying,” according to the complaint. Her nose, belly button and ear piercings had been pulled out.

She immediately told her friends about the rape and reported it to police the next day and underwent a rape investigation, according to the lawsuit.

According to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported on the lawsuit, a criminal investigation into the allegations is ongoing. No arrests were made.

Because the alleged incident did not occur when Araiza was an NFL player, he would not be subject to the NFL’s guidelines on personal conduct.

Martin and the Bills begin their season on September 8 against the Rams.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/sportsnews/article-11169733/Bills-sign-Sam-Martin-new-punter-releasing-Matt-Araiza-following-gang-rape-allegations.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Bills signs Sam Martin as new punter after releasing Matt Araiza following gang rape allegations

Maureen Mackey

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