Two more women have sued Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson over sexual misconduct accusations, bringing the total number of lawsuits facing the quarterback to 21.
The two new lawsuits, which have been obtained by DailyMail.com, were filed with the Harris County (Texas) District Clerk Tuesday on behalf of an Arizona massage therapist and a Houston woman working to get her massage therapy license.
The Houston woman said she had private sessions with Watson four times in 2020, during which the 25-year-old’s pursuit of sexual favors grew more direct as he frequently exposed himself and deliberately touched her with his penis. But while the first three appointments were upsetting to the woman, she continued to work with Watson because she feared he could destroy her budding career.
The fourth appointment, she said, culminated with Watson coercing her into oral sex and ultimately ejaculating on her. She said she refused to work with him after that.
One of the new lawsuits states Watson has contacted plaintiffs ‘through intermediaries.’
That statement clarifies the contents of a lawsuit filed by Houston attorney Tony Buzbee on Sunday that said Watson was deleting Instagram messages and contacting the women ‘who formally provided him massages, in an attempt to settle.’
In response, Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin released statements on Wednesday from 18 different female massage therapists who say the former Clemson star acted appropriately with them.
Two more civil lawsuits accusing Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct were filed on Tuesday evening in a Texas court, bringing the overall total to 21
Rusty Hardin (left), Watson’s attorney, alleged in a statement that his legal team has ‘strong evidence’ an accusation made by a woman they believe filed one of the lawsuits is false. Tony Buzbee (right), who represents the 21 women, said in a statement: ‘Alleged sexual misconduct is serious. Attempting to criminalize or minimize those that speak out or step forward is wrong’
‘All of them stated that Deshaun never made them feel uncomfortable or demanded anything outside the scope of a professional massage,’ Hardin said in his statement.
‘None of them experienced any of the behavior alleged by anonymous plaintiffs in the numerous lawsuits filed by the same Houston attorney.
‘These statements show the other side to this story that has been so lacking in the flurry of anonymous complaints filed by opposing counsel.’
In a previous statement on Monday, Hardin responded to the suggestion that his client deliberately deleted Instagram messages, saying that Watson has not done so since the first lawsuit was filed on March 15. Hardin also denied the claim that Watson had reached out to any accuser to persuade them to settle these cases.
Like the previous 19, the latest two lawsuits were all filed by Buzbee on behalf of Jane Does, who say Watson exposed himself during massages and requested sexual favors. Many of the women say Watson also forcibly touched them with his penis.
Most, but not all, of the 21 total plaintiffs are licensed massage therapists or work in a similar field, according to Buzbee’s filings.
Watson is not being accused of sexual assault by either of the two women who filed Tuesday, although two other plaintiffs who filed earlier this month did allege sexual assault, saying he forced them to perform oral sex on him.
Watson has denied any wrongdoing and Hardin previously said ‘any allegation that Deshaun forced a woman to commit a sexual act is completely false.’
Buzbee previously said he has brought evidence against Watson to Houston police, but on Tuesday, he wrote on Instagram that Hardin’s son works for the department and that could compromise his own clients in the case.
‘[I have] learned that my legal opponent, Mr. Hardin, has a son who is on of the exclusive Command Staff of HPD,’ Buzbee wrote on Instagram. ‘I am not saying in any way that Deshaun Watson’s lawyer, Mr. Hardin, has a son who has a position that would compromise HPD and its investigation. I support his service, along with all Houston police officers—I think the rank and file know that.
‘But, I am saying that me and my clients will go elsewhere to provide our evidence to investigative authorities.’
WATSON’S ATTORNEY ISSUES STATEMENTS FROM 18 MASSAGE THERAPISTS SUPPORTING THE QB
on Wednesday, Deshaun Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin released statements from 18 different female massage therapists who say the former Clemson star did not act inappropriately with them.
The following is a pair of those statements:
Licensed massage therapist Myah Roberson: ‘I started working with Deshaun in December 2019 after being referred to him by another therapist. He sent me a screenshot of a diagram that the head trainer of the Texans gave him, highlighting the muscles that needed to be worked on, which included the groin and hamstrings. He asked if I felt comfortable working on those areas and I said yes, because I am used to working on athletes.’
‘During the massage, Deshaun was more comfortable using a towel than draping sheets over the table; this isn’t unusual at all. I have several clients that prefer using a towel over sheet. We began using a towel, and that became the norm. When I saw that the first lawsuit mentioned a towel, I chuckled because I gave him that idea. And it’s not inappropriate because they teach you in massage school that using a towel is okay. Some of these accusations are so ludicrous. I just can’t see him doing any of those things. He was never inappropriate with me. I never felt threatened in any way.’
Therapeutic massage therapist Norma Reyna: ‘When working the adductors and groin/pelvic area, it is not uncommon to accidentally graze the penis, but you don’t engage it. I teach my students to use a firmer touch or to move to a different area if a client gets aroused during a session, which sometimes happens.’
The NFL is investigating the allegations against Watson, but a league spokesman has declined to speak further on the matter. Houston police and the local district attorney’s office have declined to comment on the lawsuits.
‘It would be inappropriate for the District Attorney’s Office to comment 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,’ Dane Schiller, a spokesperson for the Harris County district attorney, said in a statement.
At a news conference earlier this month, Buzbee said the lawsuits aren’t about money, saying that the women are suing for $500 in damages, which is the lowest amount that can be sought in civil court in Texas.
Instead, Buzbee said, the lawsuits are about fixing Watson’s pattern of behavior and the culture of the NFL.
‘Plaintiffs have not brought these cases for money or attention; instead Plaintiffs seek a change in behavior with regard to Watson, and a change of culture in the NFL,’ read one of Buzbee’s filings against the defendant.
Hardin, on Monday, insisted that the lawsuits really are about money.
‘Opposing counsel’s continued statements that these cases aren’t about money do not square with the facts in at least two of these cases,’ Hardin said in his statement. ‘It is incredibly irresponsible to continue to make these types of false allegations in this avalanche of anonymous lawsuits, particularly while we are still trying to find out who the accusers are.
‘We will address these issues, and others raised in these cases, in our formal response to the court in the coming weeks.’
Last week, Hardin alleged in a statement that he had ‘strong evidence’ one accuser is lying, saying that she tried and failed to blackmail his client for $30,000.
In her lawsuit, the woman alleged Watson forced her to perform oral sex during a massage in December and that she ‘blacked out for a few minutes from the fear’ of her encounter with Watson, which left her ‘terrified.’ She also claims she defecated after the incident because she was so shaken.
Buzbee has a text which he claims shows Watson asking the plaintiff about his ‘glute area’
Hardin claims that in January, she demanded $30,000 in exchange for her ‘indefinite silence’ on the matter.
Buzbee, meanwhile, has claimed that he has copies of non-disclosure agreements that Watson has asked his massage therapists to sign.
‘We will also provide a copy of the non-disclosure agreement that Deshaun Watson and his marketing manager repeatedly insisted that Jane Doe (and others) sign after (and sometimes before) the ”massage session,” which she refused to sign,’ Buzbee wrote in a statement.
Buzbee previously claimed to have incriminating text messages from Watson to his accusers.
‘Sorry about you feeling uncomfortable,’ read one of Watson’s purported text messages, which Buzbee posted on Instagram. ‘Never were the intensions. Lmk if you want to work in the future. My apologies.’
Houston attorney Tony Buzbee claims to have a text message from Watson to one of his accusers in which he offers an apology for making her feel uncomfortable (above)
In another text, purportedly sent by Watson ahead of an appointment, he asked the masseuse if she was ‘comfortable with the glute area.’
Hardin accused Buzbee of creating a ‘circus-like atmosphere by using social media’ to publicize the lawsuits. He said that Watson recognizes that ‘sexual assault and harassment are not only unlawful, but morally wrong.’
Hardin said that many massage therapists who have previously worked with Watson describe him as a ‘gentleman and a model client who never engaged in inappropriate conduct.’
The allegations come at a precarious time for the Texans and Watson, who has reportedly demanded a trade from Houston amid the club’s roster overhaul.
The team has responded by steadfastly refusing to deal the three-time Pro Bowl selection, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini.
Houston recently released defensive end JJ Watt, a franchise cornerstone and local hero who has since signed with the Arizona Cardinals.
Prior to the 2020 season, Watson signed a massive four-year, $156 million contact that included $110 million guaranteed.
Several of the alleged incidents are said to have occurred at a hotel where Watson was staying. Two of the lawsuits specifically identified that hotel as The Houstonian (pictured)