A lawyer in Texas has filed 16 separate civil lawsuits which might be all alleging sexual misconduct in opposition to Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
The lawsuits had been filed by Houston legal professional Tony Buzbee, who has entered them into courtroom on behalf of a number of ladies who’re all claiming that Watson dedicated at the least one act of sexual misconduct or assault in opposition to them. The fits are all comparable in nature: In every case, Watson is accused of performing inappropriately after hiring a feminine to present him a non-public therapeutic massage.
One of many lawsuits refers to Watson as a “serial predator” and contains allegations that he sexually assaulted a therapeutic massage therapist in California.
After Watson was hit along with his third lawsuit, which got here on March 18, the NFL confirmed to CBSSports.com that the league has opened an investigation in opposition to the Texans quarterback to see if he violated the NFL’s private conduct coverage.
On Watson’s finish, the quarterback had his lawyer, Rusty Hardin, reply to the allegations on March 23. In an announcement supplied to CBSSports.com, the legal professional wrote that “any allegation that Deshaun pressured a lady to commit a sexual act is totally false.”
Listed here are the newest particulars on the allegations (Warning, there are some graphic particulars):
The allegations within the first lawsuit came about on March 30, 2020 on the house of the girl who was employed to present him a therapeutic massage. On this lawsuit, which you may learn right here, the central allegation is that “Watson assaulted the Plaintiff by touching her along with his penis.” In response to the lawsuit, Watson allegedly reached out to the therapeutic massage therapist on Instagram and requested if she can be prepared to present him a therapeutic massage. Earlier than the 2 agreed on something, Watson allegedly requested the girl if the “focus” of the therapeutic massage could possibly be “on his groin space.”
The girl claims that about 25 minutes into the session it turned clear that “Watson needed a therapeutic massage for just one cause — intercourse.”
Finally, the girl began crying and earlier than she was capable of get Watson to go away, he allegedly mentioned “I do know you’ve got a profession and status, and I do know you’d hate for somebody to mess with yours, identical to I do not need anybody messing with mine.”
The girl took that as a menace that Watson would possibly attempt to break her profession if she mentioned something.
The second lawsuit includes an incident that allegedly came about 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 girl. On this case, the girl was from Atlanta and Watson allegedly flew her to Houston the place she was supposed to present him a therapeutic massage at a neighborhood lodge.
Earlier than the day of the appointment, Watson allegedly requested the girl if she can be prepared to work on his “glutes” and “groin” space. In response to the girl, Watson bought fully nude previous to the therapeutic massage. After that occurred, the girl identified that he must be sporting at the least a towel, however Watson allegedly refused to place one on. As soon as the girl realized Watson needed greater than a therapeutic massage, she left the lodge room.
In response to the lawsuit, Watson’s habits is considered as “a part of a disturbing sample of preying on susceptible ladies.”
The third lawsuit includes a scenario that allegedly came about on Dec. 28, 2020. As soon as once more, Watson is accused of organising a therapeutic massage appointment by utilizing the messaging perform 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 response to this lawsuit, Watson truly pressured the girl “to carry out oral intercourse on him.” In accordance to ESPN.com, the girl wrote within the lawsuit that she felt “intimidated and threatened” and that “she was afraid of what somebody like Watson may 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 lady two instances. The first incident allegedly occurred in September 2020 and the second assault allegedly came about in October 2020.
Watson was additionally hit with seven extra lawsuits on March 22, bringing the full to 14. In response to 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 along 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. There have been additionally two extra lawsuits filed on March 23, which implies Watson now has a complete of 16 fits pending in opposition to him.
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 in opposition to 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 in opposition to me,” Watson wrote. “I’ve not but seen the grievance, however I do know this: I’ve by no means handled any lady with something apart from the utmost respect. The plaintiff’s lawyer claims that this is not about cash, however earlier than submitting go well with he made a baseless six-figure settlement demand, which I shortly rejected. In contrast to him, this is not about cash for me — it is about clearing my title, and I stay up for doing that.”
Watson launched that assertion on March 16 after the primary lawsuit got here out, however hasn’t commented on the scenario 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 ambiance” surrounding the case.
“Opposing counsel has orchestrated a circus-like ambiance by utilizing social media to publicize 14 ‘Jane Doe’ lawsuits through the previous seven days in a way calculated to inflame the general public and malign Deshaun’s in any other case sterling status,” 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 totally examine their claims makes uncovering the reality extraordinarily troublesome,” Hardin mentioned. “Anonymity is commonly crucial as a protect for victims however opposing counsel has used it as a sword to publicly humiliate Deshaun earlier than the reality‑looking for course of may even start.”
Hardin additionally added that be believes one of many lady who filed a lawsuit in opposition to Watson as soon as tried to blackmail the Texans quarterback.
“I consider that any allegation that Deshaun pressured a lady to commit a sexual act is totally false,” Hardin wrote. “And within the one case by which we have now been capable of determine a plaintiff, we have now sturdy proof displaying the allegation is fake. In January of this yr, a lady tried to blackmail Deshaun by demanding $30,000 in trade for her “indefinite silence” about what she acknowledged was a consensual encounter.”
Principally, Hardin made it clear that Watson goes to battle each single declare that is been made in opposition to 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 either side rule the day,” Hardin wrote. “Thanks to your endurance and understanding.”
Response from the Texans
It appears the Texans came upon concerning the first lawsuit on March 16, and after the allegations got here out, the staff shortly launched an announcement.
“We turned conscious of a civil lawsuit involving Deshaun Watson by a social media publish [on Tuesday night],” the staff mentioned. “That is the primary time we heard of the matter, and we hope to study extra quickly. We take accusations of this nature that contain anybody inside the Houston Texans group critically. We’ll await additional info 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 vice chairman 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 understand that the League has opened an investigation into these allegations and to request the cooperation of your purchasers in our investigation. Such cooperation would start with participating in Zoom interviews with myself and one other League investigator at which, in fact, you’d be current. Please let me know at your earliest comfort in case your purchasers are prepared to help us with our investigation of their allegations.”
The Texans have mentioned that they will likely 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 could possibly be hit with a punishment if the NFL finds that there is any benefit to the allegations. With an ongoing NFL investigation, it may additionally turn into harder for the Texans to commerce their star quarterback as different groups would possibly need to see how the investigation performs out earlier than making a deal for the 25-year-old.
Attainable police involvement
Though Watson is not presently dealing with any legal fees, 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 were dedicated. Nevertheless, 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 likely be a part of his “subsequent step.”
Although it does not seem that the police are concerned but, Buzbee has mentioned that he want to see a grand jury convened in order that it could take a look at the proof and determine whether or not Watson must be charged.