A woman who is suing quarterback Deshaun Watson for allegedly sexually assaulting her while she was giving him a massage filed a lawsuit Monday against the Houston Texans, accusing Watson’s team at the time of having turned “a blind eye” and “enabled” Watson to harass and assault multiple massage therapists–and her attorney promised more lawsuits against the team are on the way.
The lawsuit, filed by a woman who says she was a massage therapy student at the time she says Watson reached out to her on Instagram to arrange a massage in November 2020, claims the Texans learned about Watson’s history of soliciting massages from women on the social media platform as early as June of that year, when the owner of a Houston massage studio “complained to the Texans that Watson was seeking out unqualified strangers.”
Watson is accused of sexually exposing himself during massages to at least 66 women between 2019 and 2021 – according to the New York Times – including 24 who have filed lawsuits against him (all but four have settled).
Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the woman suing the Texans, as well as the others who have sued Watson, wrote in a tweet on Monday the lawsuit is the “first case of what will likely be many” against the Texans related to Watson’s behavior.
After several women had come forward with accusations of sexual assault and misconduct, the Texans provided Watson with a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) to “protect himself” from the women, the lawsuit states.
Watson, 26, used the NDA when he solicited more massages from strangers, threatening to withhold pay from women who did not sign, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims Watson arranged a massage with the plaintiff and proceeded to expose himself and sexually assault her at her home in Manvel, Texas, as part of a string of behavior the lawsuit calls “disturbing, predatory, and incriminating.”
The team said it has “fully supported and complied with law enforcement and the various investigations,” in a statement on Monday.
After not playing during the 2021-22 season due to the allegations against him, Watson, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, was traded by the Texans to the Cleveland Browns, which gave him a five-year contract with a guaranteed $230 million in pay, the most guaranteed money in league history. Buzbee said last week that 20 of his 24 clients had reached settlements in their cases against Watson.
What To Watch For
ESPN reported Sunday that Watson’s hearing before the NFL and NFL Players Association’s disciplinary officer Sue Robinson, is scheduled to begin Tuesday, and that the league is pushing for a “lengthy” suspension.
Deshaun Watson Settles 20 Of 24 Suits Alleging Sexual Misconduct (Forbes)
The Deshaun Watson Era In Cleveland Has Begun — Sort Of (Forbes)