A lawyer in Texas has filed 14 separate civil lawsuits which might be all alleging sexual misconduct towards Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
The lawsuits had been filed by Houston legal professional Tony Buzbee, who has entered them into court docket on behalf of a number of shoppers all claiming that Watson dedicated not less than one act of sexual misconduct or assault towards them. The fits are all comparable in nature: In every case, Watson is accused of performing inappropriately after hiring a feminine to offer him a personal therapeutic massage.
The most recent lawsuit, filed Monday evening, refers to Watson as a “serial predator” and contains allegations that he sexually assaulted a therapeutic massage therapist in California.
After Watson was hit together with his third lawsuit, which got here on March 18, the NFL confirmed to CBSSports.com that the league has opened an investigation towards the Texans quarterback to see if he violated the NFL’s private conduct coverage.
Watson’s legal professional, Rusty Hardin, responded to the allegations on March 23. In an announcement, the legal professional wrote that “any allegation that Deshaun compelled a lady to commit a sexual act is totally false.”
Listed here are the most recent particulars on the allegations (Warning, there are some graphic particulars):
The allegations within the first lawsuit occurred on March 30, 2020 on the house of the lady who was employed to offer him a therapeutic massage. On this lawsuit, which you’ll be able to learn right here, the central allegation is that “Watson assaulted the Plaintiff by touching her together with his penis.” In keeping with the lawsuit, Watson allegedly reached out to the therapeutic massage therapist on Instagram and requested if she can be keen to offer him a therapeutic massage. Earlier than the 2 agreed on something, Watson allegedly requested the lady if the “focus” of the therapeutic massage may very well be “on his groin space.”
The girl claims that about 25 minutes into the session it turned clear that “Watson wished a therapeutic massage for just one purpose — intercourse.”
Finally, the lady began crying and earlier than she was in a position to get Watson to go away, he allegedly mentioned “I do know you will have a profession and popularity, and I do know you’ll hate for somebody to mess with yours, similar to I do not need anybody messing with mine.”
The girl took that as a menace that Watson may attempt to smash her profession if she mentioned something.
The second lawsuit includes an incident that allegedly occurred on Aug. 28, 2020. Like the primary lawsuit, Watson is accused of reaching out to a therapeutic massage therapist on Instagram. On this lawsuit, Watson is accused of exposing himself and inappropriately touching the lady. On this case, the lady was from Atlanta and Watson allegedly flew her to Houston the place she was supposed to offer him a therapeutic massage at an area lodge.
Earlier than the day of the appointment, Watson allegedly requested the lady if she can be keen to work on his “glutes” and “groin” space. In keeping with the lady, Watson obtained utterly nude previous to the therapeutic massage. After that occurred, the lady identified that he must be carrying not less than a towel, however Watson allegedly refused to place one on. As soon as the lady realized Watson wished greater than a therapeutic massage, she left the lodge room.
In keeping with the lawsuit, Watson’s conduct is considered as “a part of a disturbing sample of preying on susceptible ladies.”
The third lawsuit includes a state of affairs that allegedly occurred on Dec. 28, 2020. As soon as once more, Watson is accused of establishing a therapeutic massage appointment by utilizing the messaging operate on Instagram to contact a comparatively unknown therapeutic massage therapist. On this case, the quarterback allegedly arrange an appointment that was to he held at a Houston-area workplace constructing.
In keeping with this lawsuit, Watson really compelled the lady “to carry out oral intercourse on him.” In accordance to ESPN.com, the lady wrote within the lawsuit that she felt “intimidated and threatened” and that “she was afraid of what somebody like Watson might do if she didn’t undergo his calls for.”
After the primary three lawsuits got here out, Buzbee mentioned there can be extra and he wasn’t exaggerating. The Texas lawyer filed 4 extra lawsuits on March 19. Within the fourth lawsuit that was filed, Watson is accused of sexually assaulting one girl two instances. The first incident allegedly occurred in September 2020 and the second assault allegedly occurred in October 2020.
Watson was additionally hit with six extra lawsuits on March 22, bringing the entire to 13. In keeping with one of many lawsuits that was filed Monday and obtained by ESPN, Watson is accused of sexually assaulting a feminine therapeutic massage therapist simply weeks in the past by “touching her together with his penis and exposing himself.”
The thirteenth lawsuit, which was filed Monday afternoon, alleges Watson harassed and inappropriately touched an expert esthetician whereas she was performing a therapeutic massage in April 2020.
After Buzbee publicly introduced that the primary lawsuit can be filed, Watson instantly issued an announcement on Twitter the place he denied all of the allegations towards him.
“Because of a social media publish by a publicity-seeking plaintiff’s lawyer, I lately turned conscious of a lawsuit that has apparently been filed towards me,” Watson wrote. “I’ve not but seen the criticism, however I do know this: I’ve by no means handled any girl with something apart from the utmost respect. The plaintiff’s lawyer claims that this is not about cash, however earlier than submitting swimsuit he made a baseless six-figure settlement demand, which I shortly rejected. Not like him, this is not about cash for me — it is about clearing my title, and I sit up for doing that.”
Watson launched that assertion on March 16 after the primary lawsuit got here out, however hasn’t commented on the state of affairs since then. Watson’s legal professional, Rusty Hardin, adopted up the quarterback’s assertion with an announcement of his personal on March 23 the place he denied all of the allegations.
Watson’s legal professional fires again
In a prolonged assertion despatched to the media, not solely did Hardin declare that the allegations are false, however he additionally accused Buzbee of orchestrating “a circus-like environment” surrounding the case.
“Opposing counsel has orchestrated a circus-like environment by utilizing social media to publicize 14 ‘Jane Doe’ lawsuits in the course of the previous seven days in a fashion calculated to inflame the general public and malign Deshaun’s in any other case sterling popularity,” Hardin wrote.
Watson’s legal professional additionally identified that Buzbee has refused to show over the names of the plaintiffs.
“The tactic of refusing our requests to confidentially present the names of the plaintiffs so we will absolutely examine their claims makes uncovering the reality extraordinarily tough,” Hardin mentioned. “Anonymity is commonly needed as a defend for victims however opposing counsel has used it as a sword to publicly humiliate Deshaun earlier than the reality‑in search of course of may even start.”
Hardin additionally added that be believes one of many girl who filed a lawsuit towards Watson as soon as tried to blackmail the Texans quarterback.
“I imagine that any allegation that Deshaun compelled a lady to commit a sexual act is totally false,” Hardin wrote. “And within the one case through which we’ve been in a position to establish a plaintiff, we’ve robust proof displaying the allegation is fake. In January of this yr, a lady tried to blackmail Deshaun by demanding $30,000 in change for her “indefinite silence” about what she said was a consensual encounter.”
Principally, Hardin made it clear that Watson goes to battle each single declare that is been made towards him.
“We’re taking the allegations very critically however we ask solely that folks not rush to judgment, that folks not be unduly influenced by opposing counsel’s antics, and that they let elementary equity to each side rule the day,” Hardin wrote. “Thanks in your persistence and understanding.”
Response from the Texans
It appears the Texans discovered in regards to the first lawsuit on March 16, and after the allegations got here out, the crew shortly launched an announcement.
“We turned conscious of a civil lawsuit involving Deshaun Watson by means of a social media publish [on Tuesday night],” the crew mentioned. “That is the primary time we heard of the matter, and we hope to be taught extra quickly. We take accusations of this nature that contain anybody inside the Houston Texans group critically. We’ll await additional data earlier than making any further statements on this incident.”
NFL is now investigating
Buzbee shared a letter on March 18 that got here from NFL senior vp Lisa Friel, who runs the league’s particular counsel for investigations.
“I turned conscious of the lawsuits you filed [March 17], in addition to the one you filed this morning, which include numerous allegations of misconduct by Houston Texans participant Deshaun Watson,” Friel wrote in a letter that was posted to Instagram by Buzbee (The publish has since been deleted). “I’m writing to let you already know that the League has opened an investigation into these allegations and to request the cooperation of your shoppers in our investigation. Such cooperation would start with participating in Zoom interviews with myself and one other League investigator at which, in fact, you’ll be current. Please let me know at your earliest comfort in case your shoppers are keen to help us with our investigation of their allegations.”
The Texans have mentioned that they will probably be staying in “shut contact” with the league over the course of the investigation.
With the league now investigating, there’s an opportunity that Watson may very well be hit with a punishment if the NFL finds that there is any benefit to the allegations. With an ongoing NFL investigation, it may also turn into harder for the Texans to commerce their star quarterback as different groups may need to see how the investigation performs out earlier than making a deal for the 25-year-old.
Doable police involvement
Though Watson is not at the moment dealing with any prison expenses, that might change. Buzbee claimed on March 19 that police in Houston have reached out to him to seek out out about any doable crimes which have been dedicated. Nonetheless, Houston police say they’re “unaware” of any contact between the division and Buzbee. Though it isn’t clear if contact has been made, Buzbee mentioned he plans to cooperate with authorities and he additionally mentioned throughout his March 19 press convention that he plans to place a packet collectively for police that can element every incident. The lawyer additionally added that submitting a police report will probably be a part of his “subsequent step.”
Although it would not seem that the police are concerned but, Buzbee has mentioned that he wish to see a grand jury convened in order that it will possibly take a look at the proof and determine whether or not Watson must be charged.