Not solely is Deshaun Watson dealing with 21 separate civil lawsuits, however the Texans quarterback has now additionally been hit with a legal grievance, the Houston Police Division introduced on April 2. It is the primary legal grievance that is been filed towards Watson because the first lawsuit was filed in mid-March.
“A complainant filed a report with the Houston Police Division regarding Deshaun Watson,” the HPD mentioned in a press release. “As with every allegation, the Houston Police Division is now conducting an investigation and won’t remark additional throughout the investigative course of.”
Houston police have not revealed any particulars in regards to the grievance, so it is unknown if it is associated to any of the lawsuits which have been filed by Houston legal professional Tony Buzbee. The Texas lawyer filed the lawsuits in court docket on behalf of a number of girls who’re all claiming that Watson dedicated not less than one act of sexual misconduct or assault towards them. The fits are all related in nature: In every case, Watson is accused of performing inappropriately after hiring a feminine to offer him a personal 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. 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 a press release offered to CBSSports.com, the legal professional wrote that “any allegation that Deshaun pressured 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 improvement,” Hardin mentioned in a press release. “Now we’ll be taught the id of not less than one accuser. We’ll absolutely cooperate with the Houston Police Division.”
From a soccer standpoint, the NFL opened an investigation towards the Texans quarterback on March 18 to see if he violated the NFL’s private conduct coverage and that investigation is ongoing.
Listed here are the newest particulars on the allegations (Warning, there are some graphic particulars):
The allegations within the first lawsuit passed off on March 30, 2020 on the residence of the lady who was employed to offer 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 together with his penis.” In accordance 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 lady claims that about 25 minutes into the session it turned clear that “Watson needed a therapeutic massage for just one cause — intercourse.”
Finally, the lady began crying and earlier than she was capable of get Watson to go away, he allegedly mentioned “I do know you’ve gotten a profession and repute, and I do know you’d hate for somebody to mess with yours, similar to I do not need anybody messing with mine.”
The lady took that as a risk that Watson would possibly attempt to wreck her profession if she mentioned something.
The second lawsuit entails an incident that allegedly passed off 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 a neighborhood 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 accordance with the lady, Watson received 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 needed greater than a therapeutic massage, she left the lodge room.
In accordance with the lawsuit, Watson’s conduct is considered as “a part of a disturbing sample of preying on weak girls.”
The third lawsuit entails a state of affairs that allegedly passed off on Dec. 28, 2020. As soon as once more, Watson is accused of establishing a therapeutic massage appointment through the use of 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 accordance with this lawsuit, Watson truly pressured 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 lady two occasions. The first incident allegedly occurred in September 2020 and the second assault allegedly passed off in October 2020.
Watson was additionally hit with seven extra lawsuits on March 22, bringing the entire to 14. In accordance 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 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 entire to 16.
The quarterback was then hit with three extra lawsuits on March 29, which suggests the entire is now at 19. In one of many three filings from March 29, one plaintiff mentioned 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 offer him a therapeutic massage. In one other lawsuit from March 29, Buzbee is now alleging that Watson has been deleting Instagram messages, in keeping with the Houston Chronicle. In that very same lawsuit, Watson has been accused of reaching out to a number of the girls “in an try to settle.”
Watson’s lawyer has denied that the quarterback has been making an attempt to settle any of the instances.
The quarterback was additionally hit with to two extra lawsuits on March 31. One of many instances was filed by a therapeutic massage therapist in Arizona, which suggests Watson is now dealing with accusations in a complete of 4 states (Texas, Arizona, California and Georgia).
“Because of a social media put up by a publicity-seeking plaintiff’s lawyer, I just lately turned conscious of a lawsuit that has apparently been filed towards 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. 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 a press release 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 through the use of social media to publicize 14 ‘Jane Doe’ lawsuits throughout the previous seven days in a way calculated to inflame the general public and malign Deshaun’s in any other case sterling repute,” 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 are able to absolutely examine their claims makes uncovering the reality extraordinarily troublesome,” Hardin mentioned. “Anonymity is commonly needed 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 towards Watson as soon as tried to blackmail the Texans quarterback.
“I consider that any allegation that Deshaun pressured a girl to commit a sexual act is totally false,” Hardin wrote. “And within the one case through which we’ve got been capable of establish a plaintiff, we’ve got robust 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 towards him.
“We’re taking the allegations very significantly 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 in your endurance and understanding.”
In a separate assertion despatched out on March 29, Hardin denied the allegations that Watson had been deleting Instagram messages as method to do away with proof. Hardin additionally added that the quarterback can be preventing to clear his title and isn’t at the moment trying to settle any of the instances.
“Like lots of people, Deshaun usually deletes previous Instagram messages,” Hardin mentioned. “That mentioned, 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 to settle these instances.”
A number of therapeutic massage therapists come out in protection of Watson
Though Watson at the moment has 21 lawsuits pending towards him, there are almost 20 therapeutic massage therapists who must determined to go on the report to voice their assist 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 at least one 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 assist 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 mentioned in a press release that was offered to CBSSports.com. “I’ve labored on him two occasions and in each situations 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 equipped the draping towel, which was the scale of a seaside towel.”
One physician, who at the moment serves because the director of rehabilitation companies at a hospital in Houston, mentioned that she’s labored with Watson a number of occasions and has by no means as soon as felt uncomfortable round him.
“I labored with Deshaun a number of occasions in 2019 and 2020. He was very quiet throughout our periods, usually performed his music and zoned out,” the physician mentioned. “Like most athletes, he requested that I concentrate on his hamstrings, abs and adductors. He by no means made me uncomfortable and was at all times skilled throughout our periods.”
Hardin mentioned he offered a press release from every of the 18 girls as a method to present “the opposite facet to this story.”
Response from the Texans
It appears the Texans came upon in regards to the first lawsuit on March 16, and after the allegations got here out, the group shortly launched a press release.
“We turned conscious of a civil lawsuit involving Deshaun Watson by way of a social media put up [on Tuesday night],” the group 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 significantly. We’ll await additional info earlier than making any extra statements on this incident.”
Texans common supervisor Nick Caserio spoke publicly for the primary time in regards to the allegations on the group’s podcast March 29.
“We actually take them very significantly,” Caserio mentioned. “The allegations, what’s been mentioned, are actually troubling. Organizationally that is not one thing that we are able to condone, these forms of actions. We’ll let the authorized course of care for itself.”
NFL Community’s Tom Pelissero reported on April 2 that Houston might 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 turned conscious of the lawsuits you filed [March 17], in addition to the one you filed this morning, which include varied allegations of misconduct by Houston Texans participant Deshaun Watson,” Friel wrote in a letter that was posted to Instagram by Buzbee (The put up 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 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’d 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 can 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 out to be harder for the Texans to commerce their star quarterback as different groups would possibly wish to see how the investigation performs out earlier than making a deal for the 25-year-old.
Potential police involvement
Though Watson is not at the moment dealing with any legal costs, that would change particularly given the Houston Police Division’s now ongoing investigation. 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 may element every incident. The lawyer additionally added that submitting a police report can 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 a press release 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 Employees of HPD,” Buzbee wrote. “I’m not saying in any approach that Deshaun Watson’s lawyer, Mr. Hardin, has a son who has a place that may compromise HPD and its investigation. I assist his service, together with all Houston cops — I believe the rank and file know that. However, I’m saying that me and my shoppers will go elsewhere to offer our proof to investigative authorities. Stand by.”
Primarily based on the lawsuits which have been filed, Buzbee would not essentially must look to file legal costs in Houston. Watson is accused of sexual misconduct and/or assault in not less than three different states moreover Texas and Buzbee might search legal investigations and potential costs in any a type of jurisdictions.