Opinion: Sexual assault allegations should always be taken seriously, but don’t rush to judgment

Source: sandiegouniontribune.com 12/15/22

In former SDSU football player Matt Araiza’s case, too many people seemed to automatically believe his accuser from the very beginning.

The harsh reality of being a suspect in a criminal case, especially in a case where the potential penalties include spending multiple years in prison and having to register as a sex offender for life, weighs differently on different types of people. For Matt Araiza, it weighed especially heavy. In a very short span of time, he went from winning college football’s highest award for a punter, breaking the NCAA record for the longest punt average in a season and being highly revered across the sports world, to getting cut by the Buffalo Bills and having to retain defense attorneys and private investigators to represent him in response to sexual assault allegations. Araiza and his family even suffered through a multitude of vile and disgusting death threats during this case, the details of which cannot be printed in this newspaper.

Sexual assault allegations should always be taken very seriously. However, simply because a complaining witness makes a sexual assault allegation does not automatically make it true. In Araiza’s case, too many citizens across the United States seemed to automatically believe his accuser from the very beginning. Many made up their minds right away and refused to wait and hear what decision the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office would make as to whether criminal charges should be filed. Those who kept an open mind found out last week that after a long, careful and detailed review of the evidence, no sexual assault charges would be filed against any of the suspects, including Araiza.

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His name will still be tarnished.
Many times the media will spend a lot of time on hot topics such as this,
but when the suspect is found innocent, then just a moment is spent declaring their innocence and the media will move on to the next carcass they can get the public to start feeding off of
Oftentimes people will continue to wonder ‘did they really do it and just pay their way out of it.’

“Always” is the most misused and misinterpreted word in the American Psyche.