Not solely is Deshaun Watson going through 22 separate civil lawsuits, however the Texans quarterback has additionally been hit with a number of legal complaints. On April 2, the Houston Police Division introduced the primary legal grievance filed in opposition to Watson because the first lawsuit was filed in mid-March. One other legal grievance was introduced ahead as the lady who filed the primary lawsuit in opposition to Watson supplied an announcement to police, in line with Houston lawyer Tony Buzbee on April 6.
“A complainant filed a report with the Houston Police Division regarding Deshaun Watson,” the HPD stated in an announcement on April 2. “As with every allegation, the Houston Police Division is now conducting an investigation and won’t remark additional in the course of the investigative course of.”
Houston police have not revealed any particulars concerning the first legal grievance, so it is unknown if it is associated to any of the lawsuits which have been filed by Buzbee. The Texas lawyer filed the lawsuits in courtroom on behalf of a number of ladies who’re all claiming that Watson dedicated not less than 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 provide him a non-public therapeutic massage.
One of many lawsuits refers to Watson as a “serial predator” and consists of allegations that he sexually assaulted a therapeutic massage therapist in California. Many of the therapeutic massage therapists had been employed by way of Instagram, and in a single lawsuit, Watson is accused of making an attempt to delete (or unsend) the Instagram messages he used to initially contact the lady. Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, has denied that cost.
Hardin responded to the remainder of the allegations on March 23. In an announcement supplied to CBSSports.com, the lawyer wrote that “any allegation that Deshaun compelled a girl to commit a sexual act is totally false.”
Watson’s lawyer additionally responded to the legal grievance on April 2.
“We welcome this lengthy overdue growth,” Hardin stated in an announcement. “Now we’ll be taught the identification of not less than one accuser. We’ll totally cooperate with the Houston Police Division.”
From a soccer standpoint, the NFL opened an investigation in opposition to the Texans quarterback on March 18 to see if he violated the NFL’s private conduct coverage and that investigation is ongoing.
At a press convention on April 6, two ladies got here ahead about their allegations in opposition to Watson. Ashley Solis and Lauren Baxley each recognized themselves as plaintiffs in civil fits in opposition to Watson.
“[Deshuan Watson] must be held accountable for his actions,” Solis stated. “I come ahead now in order that Deshaun Watson would not assault one other ladies.”
Cornelia Brandfield-Harvey — a lawyer who works for Buzbee’s agency — learn a letter written by Baxley on the convention.
“I initially got here ahead to supply solidarity to different ladies, however I’ve since realized that I am deserving of justice as properly,” Baxley wrote. “I hope the courtroom of legislation brings that justice, and that you simply’re stripped of each your energy and talent to harm extra ladies.”
Listed below 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 provide him a therapeutic massage. On this lawsuit, which you possibly can learn right here, the central allegation is that “Watson assaulted the Plaintiff by touching her along with his penis.” Based on the lawsuit, Watson allegedly reached out to the therapeutic massage therapist on Instagram and requested if she can be prepared to provide 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 grew to become clear that “Watson wished a therapeutic massage for just one motive — intercourse.”
Finally, the lady began crying and earlier than she was in a position to get Watson to depart, he allegedly stated, “I do know you’ve gotten a profession and status, and I do know you’ll hate for somebody to mess with yours, identical to I do not need anybody messing with mine.”
The girl took that as a risk that Watson would possibly attempt to break her profession if she stated something.
Throughout a press convention on April 6, the lady who filed the primary lawsuit recognized herself as Ashley Solis. Solis is the primary of the 22 ladies to publicly come ahead.
“[Deshuan Watson] must be held accountable for his actions,” Solis stated. “I come ahead now in order that Deshaun Watson would not assault one other ladies.”
One motive Solis is coming ahead now could be as a result of she’s hoping it would give different ladies the braveness to do the identical factor.
“I hope my story provides them braveness to talk out,” Solis stated. “It has taken me a very long time to talk my fact. I used to be afraid. I am not afraid anymore. I am right here to take again the ability and take again management. I am a survivor of assault and harassment.”
An emotional Solis additionally described how her life has modified since he run-in with Watson.
“I undergo from panic assaults, anxiousness and melancholy,” Solis stated. “I hope he is aware of how a lot ache he is inflicted on me emotionally and bodily… My father, who was as soon as a die-hard Texans fan can now not point out [Watson’s] identify with out his face turning pink.”
Buzbee added that Solis has supplied an announcement to police and that the variety of legal complaints is now at two.
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 provide him a therapeutic massage at a neighborhood lodge.
Earlier than the day of the appointment, Watson allegedly requested the lady if she can be prepared to work on his “glutes” and “groin” space. Based on the lady, Watson obtained fully nude previous to the therapeutic massage. After that occurred, the lady identified that he needs to be sporting 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.
Based on the lawsuit, Watson’s habits is considered as “a part of a disturbing sample of preying on weak 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 organising a therapeutic massage appointment through the use of 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.
Based on this lawsuit, Watson truly 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 may do if she didn’t undergo his calls for.”
After the primary three lawsuits got here out, Buzbee stated 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 occurred in October 2020.
Watson was additionally hit with seven extra lawsuits on March 22, bringing the full to 14. Based on 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 knowledgeable esthetician whereas she was performing a therapeutic massage in April 2020. There have been additionally two extra lawsuits filed on March 23, which introduced the full to 16.
The quarterback was then hit with three extra lawsuits on March 29, which implies the full is now at 19. In one of many three filings from March 29, one plaintiff stated she knew the quarterback by way of mutual pals, which makes this the primary lawsuit to the place a plaintiff admitted she knew who Watson was earlier than accepting a job to provide him a therapeutic massage. In one other lawsuit from March 29, Buzbee is now alleging that Watson has been deleting Instagram messages, in line with the Houston Chronicle. In that very same lawsuit, Watson has been accused of reaching out to a few of the ladies “in an try and settle.”
Watson’s lawyer has denied that the quarterback has been making an attempt to settle any of the circumstances.
The quarterback was additionally hit with to two extra lawsuits on March 31. One of many circumstances was filed by a therapeutic massage therapist in Arizona, which implies Watson is now going through accusations in a complete of 4 states (Texas, Arizona, California and Georgia). General, Watson has been hit with a complete of twenty-two lawsuits with the newest go well with being filed on April 5.
“On account of a social media publish by a publicity-seeking plaintiff’s lawyer, I just lately grew to become 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 aside 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 identify, 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 lawyer, 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 lawyer 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 through the use of social media to publicize 14 ‘Jane Doe’ lawsuits in the course of 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 lawyer 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 are able to totally examine their claims makes uncovering the reality extraordinarily troublesome,” Hardin stated. “Anonymity is usually vital as a defend 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 imagine that any allegation that Deshaun compelled a girl to commit a sexual act is totally false,” Hardin wrote. “And within the one case through which we’ve got been in a position to establish a plaintiff, we’ve got sturdy proof exhibiting the allegation is fake. In January of this 12 months, a girl tried to blackmail Deshaun by demanding $30,000 in change for her “indefinite silence” about what she acknowledged was a consensual encounter.”
Principally, Hardin made it clear that Watson goes to combat 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 basic equity to each side rule the day,” Hardin wrote. “Thanks to your persistence and understanding.”
In a separate assertion despatched out on March 29, Hardin denied the allegations that Watson had been deleting Instagram messages as solution to do away with proof. Hardin additionally added that the quarterback shall be combating to clear his identify and isn’t at the moment trying to settle any of the circumstances.
“Like lots of people, Deshaun commonly deletes previous Instagram messages,” Hardin stated. “That stated, he has not deleted any messages since March fifteenth, the day earlier than the primary lawsuit was filed. We categorically deny that he has reached out on to his accusers in an try and settle these circumstances.”
A number of therapeutic massage therapists come out in protection of Watson
Though Watson at the moment has 21 lawsuits pending in opposition to him, there are almost 20 therapeutic massage therapists who should determined to go on the file to voice their help for the beleaguered Texans quarterback. Hardin launched the names of every therapist on March 31 they usually vary from a licensed bodily therapist with a level in Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization to 1 lady who as soon as served because the as supervisor of Houston Methodist’s therapeutic massage program.
A number of of the ladies who got here out in help of Watson had been employed by way of Instagram.
“Deshaun first contacted me in February (2021) by direct message on Instagram after he noticed a flyer that I had posted,” one therapeutic massage therapist stated in an announcement that was supplied to CBSSports.com. “I’ve labored on him two instances and in each cases he requested for a sports activities therapeutic massage with a concentrate on his abs, abductors, thighs and glutes. Every session lasted an hour and he provided the draping towel, which was the scale of a seashore towel.”
One physician, who at the moment serves because the director of rehabilitation providers at a hospital in Houston, stated that she’s labored with Watson a number of instances and has by no means as soon as felt uncomfortable round him.
“I labored with Deshaun a number of instances in 2019 and 2020. He was very quiet throughout our periods, typically performed his music and zoned out,” the physician stated. “Like most athletes, he requested that I concentrate on his hamstrings, abs and adductors. He by no means made me uncomfortable and was all the time skilled throughout our periods.”
Hardin stated he supplied an announcement from every of the 18 ladies as a solution to present “the opposite aspect to this story.”
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 group shortly launched an announcement.
“We grew to become conscious of a civil lawsuit involving Deshaun Watson by way of a social media publish [on Tuesday night],” the group stated. “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 throughout the Houston Texans group critically. We’ll await additional info earlier than making any further statements on this incident.”
Texans common supervisor Nick Caserio spoke publicly for the primary time concerning the allegations on the group’s podcast March 29.
“We actually take them very critically,” Caserio stated. “The allegations, what’s been mentioned, are actually troubling. Organizationally that is not one thing that we are able to condone, these kinds of actions. We’ll let the authorized course of handle itself.”
NFL Community’s Tom Pelissero reported on April 2 that Houston may add veteran Alex Smith to its quarterback room as a possible starter relying on how the Watson state of affairs performs out.
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 grew to become 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 partaking in Zoom interviews with myself and one other League investigator at which, after all, you’ll be current. Please let me know at your earliest comfort in case your shoppers are prepared to help us with our investigation of their allegations.”
The Texans have stated that they shall 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 additionally turn into tougher 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 at the moment going through any legal prices, that would change particularly given the Houston Police Division’s now ongoing investigation. Buzbee stated he plans to cooperate with authorities and he additionally stated throughout his March 19 press convention that he plans to place a packet collectively for police that may element every incident. The lawyer additionally added that submitting a police report shall be a part of his “subsequent step.”
However, that “subsequent step” won’t be coming and that is as a result of it seems Buzbee would not belief the Houston Police Division. In an announcement posted to Instagram in late March, Buzbee identified that the son of Watson’s lawyer works for the HPD.
“My authorized opponent, Mr. Hardin, has a son who’s on of the unique Command Workers of HPD,” Buzbee wrote. “I’m not saying in any method that Deshaun Watson’s lawyer, Mr. Hardin, has a son who has a place that will compromise HPD and its investigation. I help his service, together with all Houston cops — I feel the rank and file know that. However, I’m saying that me and my shoppers will go elsewhere to supply our proof to investigative authorities. Stand by.”
Primarily based on the lawsuits which have been filed, Buzbee would not essentially should look to file legal prices in Houston. Watson is accused of sexual misconduct and/or assault in not less than three different states in addition to Texas and Buzbee may search legal investigations and potential prices in any a kind of jurisdictions.