Former Football Player Matt Araiza Files Defamation Lawsuit Against Woman Who Accused Him of Sexual Assault
“These allegations, the complaint added, ‘have lowered [Araiza] in the eyes of the community, deterred third persons from associating with him, and permanently damaged him in his profession and occupation.'”
Former San Diego State University and Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza lost everything when a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her while at college.
The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office chose not to charge Araiza and others after it completed the police department’s investigation of the alleged attack:
“Ultimately, prosecutors determined it is clear the evidence does not support the filing of criminal charges and there is no path to a potential criminal conviction. Prosecutors can only file charges when they ethically believe they can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” a news release from San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan’s office said.
Araiza admitted to having consensual sex with the woman known as Jane Doe.
Araiza claims a transcript of a conversation between the prosecutors and Doe clears him:
According to prosecutors who had pieced together a timeline of the night, Araiza had left the party about an hour before Doe, who was 17 years old at the time, claims the rape happened. Prosecutors also said video evidence of the accuser engaging in sexual interactions does not identify or place Araiza in the bedroom where the alleged rape took place.
In the filing for his defamation suit against his accuser, Araiza claims that Doe continued to make statements about his involvement despite the discussion during the meeting.
“[She] made these false statements notwithstanding her lengthy and detailed meeting with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office just five months earlier,” the complaint read.
These allegations, the complaint added, “have lowered [Araiza] in the eyes of the community, deterred third persons from associating with him, and permanently damaged him in his profession and occupation.”
Araiza had been released from the Bills in August 2022, following him being named in the sexual assault allegations.
Defamation that is written and/or published is called libel. If spoken, it is called slander.
Overall, there are five elements to a defamation lawsuit:
1. Someone made a statement;
2. The statement was published;
3. The statement caused you injury;
4. The statement was false; and
5. The statement did not fall into a privileged category
Each state has its own anti-defamation statutes. In California, a defamation statement “exposes any person to hatred, contempt, ridicule or obloquy, or which causes him to be shunned or avoided, or which has a tendency to injure him in his occupation.”
In California, the plaintiff must prove these four elements:
1. There was a false statement of fact;
2. Which was published without privilege to a third party;
3. With fault of at least negligence on the part of the defendant; and
4. The statement was either defamatory per se or caused special damages to the plaintiff (defamatory per quod).
I wonder if the statement will be considered defamation per se because those statements “tend to expose the plaintiff to public hatred, contempt, ridicule, aversion, or disgrace, and to induce an evil opinion of him in the minds of right-thinking persons and deprive him of their friendly intercourse or society.”
Published without privilege means the defendant “verbally communicated or published in writing to at least one third-party, other than the plaintiff or defendant.” The statement cannot be protected by privilege, which would be any “communication uttered during judicial or legislative proceedings.”
“At least negligence” means the person “must have either intentionally lied when they made the defamatory statement, or they acted with negligence in determining whether their statement was true or false.”
If it is defamation per see, then the plaintiff does not have to prove “they suffered actual damages as a result of the statement.”
California considers nine types of statements as defamatory per se:
1. Statements charging a plaintiff with a crime (or having been indicted, convicted, or punished for a crime).
2. Statements that label a plaintiff, “communist.”
3. Statements that a plaintiff has an infectious, contagious, or loathsome disease.
4. Statements that subject a person to public hatred, ridicule, or contempt.
5. Statements that a plaintiff is impotent or unchaste.
6. Statements that injure a plaintiff in their office, profession, trade, or business.
7. Statements charging a plaintiff with a violation of the confidence reposed in him.
8. Statements that tend to cause a person to be avoided or shunned.
9. Statements charging a plaintiff with treachery against his associates.
If the alleged defamation is considered defamation per quod, then the plaintiff must prove they suffered damages.
A civil lawsuit against Araiza and two former teammates is still active.DONATE
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