A former San Diego State football player who pleaded not guilty to criminal possession of child pornography on Thursday faces up to three years in prison and mandatory sex offender registration if convicted.
Nowlin Ewaliko returned from Hawaii last week and turned himself in. He was charged and then released on bail. The indictment in San Diego Superior Court lasted only a few minutes. The 20-year-old had his lawyer with him and presented himself to a judge to hear the charges.
San Diego prosecutors said detectives found the “child sexual abuse material” while investigating Ewaliko’s alleged involvement in the gang rape of a teen at an off-campus party in the fall of 2022. Prosecutors ruled there was insufficient evidence to file criminal charges against Ewaliko and fellow former payers Zavier Leonard and All-American punter Matt Araiza, who was drafted by the Buffalo Bills and released by the team when the allegations surfaced .
The prosecutor’s office could not reveal where the alleged pornography was found, but a spokesman for the office confirmed that it was not the then 17-year-old alleged gang rape victim and that there is no specific victim linked to the charges in is connected.
As a condition of being released on bail, Ewaliko had to give up his 4th Amendment right to voluntary search and seizure.
“A police officer or law enforcement agency can ask him for his phone or computer and they don’t have to get a search warrant,” Ewaliko’s attorney, Marc Carlos, said. “So if he’s not committing any crimes, it’s not really a problem. And that won’t be an issue for us, which is why there were no complaints.”
Former Buffalo Bills player Matt Araiza’s attorney is speaking out after the teenager who accused him and two others of gang raping them spoke publicly about their case for the first time.
Carlos said he did not see the evidence prosecutors said contained child pornography.
Assistant District Attorney Franciesca Balerio addressed investigators’ discovery of alleged child pornography during the indictment.
“The law includes steps that law enforcement agencies must take. And we follow where the evidence takes us, as well as law enforcement. They will receive search warrants if necessary and will follow the law as required for them if anything is found,” Balerio said.
Balerio told reporters that once the alleged child pornography was found, the San Diego Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was called to conduct the investigation.
Ewaliko is back in court on May 18.