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Friday, December 8, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Sexual Assault Lawsuits Pile Up Against Houston Texans Quarterback

Deshaun Watson claims the allegations are meritless. But the 13 women who have sued him say his conduct is part of a disturbing pattern of him preying on vulnerable women.

HOUSTON (CN) — Six more women filed lawsuits Monday accusing Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual assault, bringing the total to 13. All say they are seeking minimum damages, but want to raise awareness to prevent Watson from victimizing other women.

Watson, 25, has denied the allegations, stating, "I have never treated any women with anything other than the utmost respect."

The first woman to sue Watson, on March 16, claims she agreed to massage him at her home on March 30, 2020. She says she left the room so he could get undressed and she returned to find him lying on her table with only a small towel, which he had brought, covering his groin.

She says Watson started aggressively telling her to focus on his groin area and she started to feel uncomfortable. "It became apparent that Watson wanted a massage for only one reason--sex," the complaint states.

The anonymous woman claims Watson complained she was not massaging him right before exposing himself and brushing her hand with his penis.

In the most graphic complaint, the owner of a physical therapy business claims she defecated on herself after he forced her to perform oral sex on him during a Dec. 28, 2020, massage session at a Houston office building.

"After he was finished, Watson got up, and offered no apology. Plaintiff was in shock. Watson got dressed and left, as if nothing happened. Plaintiff was left shaking, violated and ashamed," the complaint states.

The 13 women, two of whom are from Georgia, say the encounters left them traumatized. Some claim they now suffer panic attacks, have trouble sleeping and are seeking counseling.

They are all making claims of assault and infliction of emotional distress, and seek "minimal compensatory damages" for pain and suffering, physical impairment, medical bills, loss of earnings and earning capacity.

They are represented by Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, who announced Friday at a press conference that the Houston Police Department had contacted him about the allegations, and he planned to send it a packet of info about the cases.

But asked Monday morning if the department had received any info from Buzbee, an HPD spokesman, "At this point we haven't been made aware of anything."

He referred Courthouse News to this statement HPD released Friday on Twitter: "At this time, HPD is unaware of any contact between HPD and Houston attorney Tony Buzbee regarding the allegations contained in his recently filed lawsuits and no incident reports regarding these allegations have been filed in our jurisdiction."

The Harris County District Attorney's Office in the county seat Houston declined to discuss the allegations Monday.

“It would be inappropriate for a District Attorney’s Office to comment any way on a civil lawsuit, and we refrain from publicly discussing allegations in any matter until and if a criminal charge is filed; We do this out of fairness to all," spokesman Dane Schiller said.

In his only statement about the lawsuits, Watson said Buzbee made a "baseless six-figure settlement demand," which Watson had rejected, before the attorney filed the first lawsuit.

Buzbee, who lost a bid for Houston mayor in 2019, told local media Friday his law firm had spoken to a total of 22 women who have made accusations against Watson and more lawsuits were coming.

He followed up by filing six lawsuits against Watson on Monday, in addition to seven brought last week against the quarterback.

Regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, Watson, a Southern Baptist, had been the clean-cut face of the Houston Texans and has endorsement deals with Nike, Miller Lite, Samsung, Verizon and Beats by Dre, among others.

He led the team to division titles in 2018 and 2019 and led the league in passing yards last year despite a porous offensive line that allowed him to be sacked 49 times.

The franchise rewarded him by signing him to a four-year, $177.5 million contract extension in September 2020, the second-biggest in NFL history.

But after a 2020 season in which the Texans went 4-12, Watson fell out with the team's front office. He demanded a trade in January and has vowed to sit out the upcoming season if he's not traded, even if it means millions in fines and lost salary.

The Texans were hoping to trade him for several draft picks and a defensive starter before this year's NFL draft. But those plans are on hold as the team waits for resolution of the lawsuits and an investigation the NFL launched after the first suit was filed March 16.

Watson has hired prominent Houston defense attorney Rusty Hardin. Hardin said in a statement Friday he is extremely proud to represent the quarterback against “what we believe are meritless allegations.”

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