Athletic director John David Wicker made the first public comment since a civil lawsuit was filed last week alleging former San Diego State punter Matt Aliza and two of his then-teammates gang-raped a 17-year-old girl. and football coach Brady Hawke reiterated the university’s position that its response was following instructions from local police.
Speaking at a news conference Monday, Wicker defended the school administrator’s decision to comply with the San Diego Police Department’s request to postpone the campus-led investigation until authorities finish their criminal investigation. occurred at a Halloween party at the residence of
Wicker and Hawke read a prepared statement condemning the accusations — details revealed Thursday as part of a lawsuit filed in San Diego County Superior Court — but initially, the media outlets gathered. He declined to engage in follow-up questions.
“This is an active investigation and is ongoing. We do not intend to provide specific information about the incident or the player,” Hawke said. I would also like to emphasize that we are also assisting the District Attorney’s review of the case: what is reported to have happened should never have happened.
“That shouldn’t happen to anyone. It’s important to us that anyone who violates or violates the law or university policy will be held accountable.”
Wicker and Hawk left the room when questions didn’t move to the team’s season opener against Arizona, which opens SDSU’s new Snapdragon Stadium. Hawk returned later to discuss Saturday’s game.
The lawsuit alleges that Niiza, who was 21 at the time, had sex with a then 17-year-old high school senior who was under the age of consent in California, outside of an off-campus party held at his residence in California. I am accused as Early morning on October 17, 2021. The lawsuit states that Aliza then took her inside her home. There were allegedly at least three of her men there, including two of her other defendants named in the lawsuit. Found, she was repeatedly raped for about an hour and a half. The lawsuit states that her nose, navel and ear piercings were pulled out during the act and that she was bleeding from her vagina.
After the lawsuit was filed, Leonard’s name was removed from the SDSU roster and Ewarico was not on the roster when training camp began. However, I don’t want to answer specific questions about them or Aliza.
Alyza, a sixth-round pick by the Buffalo Bills in the NFL Draft, was released by the team Saturday, two days after the lawsuit was filed. Kelly Armstrong, an attorney representing Aliza in the criminal investigation, said the allegations were untrue based on the findings of investigators he had hired.
and A lengthy statement provided to ESPN On Monday, Alyza’s parents, Rico and Kelly, said their son was prematurely convicted in a court of public opinion.
“He has been coerced, discriminated against, harassed, and continued to receive violence and death threats. Although he has been released from his job, his entire family continues to receive horrific threats of violence and death.” “We’ve all been canceled. The whole family.”
“Indecent rumors circulated as facts. There are multiple eyewitness reports denying the allegations made against him. The legal system is designed to find out the facts and make decisions. should be allowed to do so.”
The school learned of an off-campus sexual assault report on Oct. 18, 2021, and a San Diego police investigation the next day, according to the State of San Diego. After the Title IX office began its evaluation, we received a request from the police to delay the investigation as it could undermine the police investigation. The school said it has responded.
“While we always want to get to the bottom of the allegations as soon as possible, this was simply not the decision of the sports department,” Wicker said. It was a decision made entirely at the agency’s administrative level, and I still firmly believe that allowing the SDPD to handle this investigation was the right thing to do.”
Wicker said it also included informal investigations, such as coaches asking players if they had heard anything.
“The SDPD asked us not to investigate. If we start asking questions, we can keep it secret and we are not going to investigate,” Wicker said.
About three weeks after the assault, San Diego State University invited rape victim, sexual assault prevention educator, and public speaker, Brenda Tracy, to speak with the football team and other male athletes. did. According to Wicker, the decision to bring Tracy to campus was “triggered by an incident that was being investigated by the SDPD that was reported to us. I brought her in for
Wicker said the suspect’s name had not been provided at that time.
The Los Angeles Times reported that at least one report, made by a student-athlete to San Diego state officials through an anonymous reporting system, had Aliza’s name surfaced in connection with the alleged rape within days of the party.
Asked if he knew about the anonymous report, Hawk said, “I didn’t know.”
Asked when he first heard Aliza’s name mentioned, Wicker said, “I had not received confirmation from the parties to the event until after the civil lawsuit was dropped.”
Tracy, in a Sunday night statementshe said she was informed by an athletics staff member during a visit to campus that “an incident had taken place.”
Wicker dismissed suggestions that the San Diego State coach was trying to cover up the allegations for the soccer team’s success.
“That’s absolutely not true,” Wicker said. “I hold every student, every coach and every staff accountable for all confirmed and adjudicated responsibilities that this is football and that we have covered this up because we had a successful season. is absolutely not true, i.e. it calls into question my morals and ethics, no, it is not true.”
Asked why he returned to Monday’s press conference after his initial absence, Wicker said, “I just need to answer the question.” He added that it was his decision to come back alone without Hawk.
No arrests have been made in the incident, and police have not publicly identified a suspect. The results of the police investigation are in the hands of the district attorney, but there is no timeline for a decision on whether to file charges.SDSU announced on July 22 that he was cleared by the SDPD to begin an investigation of the campus. said.
ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg and Associated Press contributed to this report.