A complete of seven civil lawsuits have been filed against Deshaun Watson accusing the Texans quarterback of assorted incidents of sexual misconduct against therapeutic massage therapists.
Houston lawyer Tony Buzbee filed the primary three lawsuits on March 16 and 17 associated to separate incidents involving accusations from a number of therapeutic massage therapists. Buzbee wrote in one of many lawsuits that Watson’s habits is a part of a “disturbing pattern of preying on vulnerable women,” per ESPN’s Sarah Barshop.
Four extra lawsuits have been filed March 19. Buzbee has stated there will likely be 9 lawsuits in complete, all filed by separate girls who accuse Watson of sexual misconduct starting from inappropriate touching to, in a single occasion, a pressured act of oral intercourse.
Here is what we know to date about these lawsuits and the way Watson and the NFL have responded to the accusations.
What to know about lawsuits against Deshaun Watson
Lawsuits 1 and a pair of
The first two lawsuits have been filed by Buzbee in Harris County, Texas. The first lawsuit stems from an incident that allegedly occurred at a therapeutic massage therapist’s house in March 2020, and the second lawsuit stems from an incident that allegedly occurred at The Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa in August 2020. The plaintiffs in each of these lawsuits are feminine therapeutic massage therapists who filed as Jane Doe.
Both lawsuits allege that Watson dedicated civil assault by exposing himself and touching the plaintiffs together with his penis. Both lawsuits additionally say the plaintiffs grew “uncomfortable” throughout the massages, and the girls abruptly ended their periods after Watson acted inappropriately. They didn’t reply to any further makes an attempt at communication from Watson, who initially arrange the conferences through Instagram direct messages.
“It became apparent that Watson wanted a massage for only one reason — sex,” the primary lawsuit states.
Watson allegedly instructed the plaintiff concerned within the March 2020 incident: “I know you have a career and a reputation, and I know you would hate for someone to mess with yours, just like I don’t want anyone messing with mine.” She thought of Watson’s comment to be a risk, per the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs are in search of compensatory damages so as to “prevent Watson from further like conduct.”
The third lawsuit stems from an incident that allegedly occurred at a Houston workplace constructing in December 2020. The plaintiff within the lawsuit filed as Jane Doe.
While the third lawsuit alleges an analogous sample of habits towards the therapeutic massage therapist, it additionally says Watson “got more aggressive, forcefully telling her to move her hand down to his pubic area.” The lawsuit claims Watson pressured the girl, who felt “intimidated and threatened,” to carry out oral intercourse on him and that she “did not consent.”
“Plaintiff wishes she could have been more courageous and would have ended the massage,” the lawsuit states. “But she felt helpless in the moment. Plaintiff was under Watson’s control.”
Four extra civil lawsuits have been filed against Watson on March 19, bringing the whole to seven. Three of the 4 lawsuits allege Watson made inappropriate contact with girls throughout therapeutic massage periods, per Barshop. The fourth claims Watson tried to kiss a girl against her will.
Who is Tony Buzbee?
Buzbee is Houston-based lawyer of The Buzbee Law Firm. He is a former Marine officer and attended the regulation college on the University of Houston Law Center, according to his bio on The Buzbee Law Firm site. He has represented a variety of high-profile purchasers, together with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
He has additionally beforehand run for public workplace, most lately launching an unsuccessful marketing campaign for mayor of Houston in 2019 against incumbent Sylvester Turner.
In an Instagram submit shared from his verified account on March 18, Buzbee stated that the Buzbee Law Firm has been employed by 9 girls to deliver circumstances against Watson, although solely three had been filed at the moment.
“The allegations are similar. We have filed three, and, as we complete our due diligence, will file the remaining ones in due course,” the submit learn. “We are talking to several others. [Buzbee’s associate] Cornelia [Brandfield-Harvey] and I appreciate the kind words, and outpouring of support for these brave women who are wiling to come forward and be heard.
“No matter what you do in life, there’ll all the time be detractors. As my dad all the time stated: ‘If you’re proper, go forward!’ And so we go.”
What has Deshaun Watson said?
Watson posted the following statement to Twitter on March 16:
As a results of a social media submit by a publicity-seeking plaintiff’s lawyer, I lately grew to become conscious of a lawsuit that has apparently been filed against me. I’ve not but seen the criticism, however I 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. Unlike him, this is not about cash for me — it is about clearing my title, and I look ahead to doing that.
Houston-based lawyer Rusty Hardin told ESPN that he spoke with Watson on March 17 and has agreed to signify him.
“I’m real comfortable with the kind of person that Deshaun Watson is, and I don’t like to publicly comment until I get all the facts,” Hardin stated, including that Watson “has a great reputation here in the Houston area, and the allegations are really inconsistent with the kind of person he is.”
Watson’s agent, David Mulugheta, shared his ideas on the lawsuits in a tweet posted on March 19:
Sexual assault is actual. Victims needs to be heard, offenders prosecuted.
Individuals fabricate tales in pursuit of monetary achieve typically. Their victims needs to be heard, and people offenders additionally prosecuted.
I merely hope we hold this similar power with the reality.
— David Mulugheta (@DavidMulugheta) March 19, 2021
Are the Texans, NFL investigating Deshaun Watson?
The Texans released the following statement on March 17:
We grew to become conscious of a civil lawsuit involving Deshaun Watson by means of a social media submit final night time. This 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 will await additional information earlier than making any further statements on this incident.
Pro Football Talk reported March 19 that Lisa Friel, the NFL’s particular counsel for investigations, wrote Buzbee a letter telling him the league has begun an investigation. She requested that Buzbee and his purchasers cooperate with it.
Buzbee posted, then deleted, and then reposted the letter on his Instagram web page. He finally wrote that his aspect “will cooperate with the NFL’s investigation and with any other investigative authorities.”
An nameless league official told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the league is investigating Watson below its private conduct coverage. The Texans stated in a second assertion on March 19 (per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle) that they’d “stay in close contact” with the league throughout the investigation.