A massage therapist who was the first of 22 women to sue Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson for sexual misconduct has identified herself publicly on Tuesday, tearfully saying she now suffers from panic attacks after he allegedly exposed himself and touched her with his penis during a private session.
‘My name is Ashley Solis,’ the licensed massage therapist said at an emotional press conference alongside her attorney, Tony Buzbee. ‘Remember that name. … I was afraid. I’m not afraid anymore.
‘I am survivor of assault and harassment,’ she continued. ‘Deshaun Watson is my assaulter and my harasser; he assaulted me at my home doing what I love most, massage therapy.’
Watson’s 21 other accusers have yet to identify themselves publicly. Through his attorney, the 25-year-old quarterback has denied all sexual misconduct claims.
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Ashley Solis (right), the first of the 22 Jane Does to sue Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson for sexual misconduct, identified herself publicly at a press conference on Tuesday, saying she now suffers panic attacks and depression after the 25-year-old quarterback exposed himself and touched her with his penis during a private massage. ‘My name is Ashley Solis,’ the licensed massage therapist said at an emotional press conference alongside her attorney, Tony Buzbee (left). ‘Remember that name. … I was afraid. I’m not afraid anymore’
Watson (right) issued a statement after Solis filed her lawsuit on March 16, saying he has never disrespected any woman. Since then, 21 other women have filed against him while his attorney, Rusty Hardin, has accused the plaintiffs of being motivated by financial gain. ‘People say I’m doing this just for money,’ said Solis (left, pictured by Houston’s NBC affiliate, KRPC 2). ‘That is false. I come forward now in hopes Deshaun Watson does not hurt another woman’
Ashley Solis is the first woman to come forward publicly to accuse Deshaun Watson of sexual assault’
“I am survivor of assault and harassment, Deshaun Watson is my assaulter and my harasser, he assaulted me at my home doing what I love most, massage therapy” pic.twitter.com/oA8luucYNk
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) April 6, 2021
Solis explained at the press conference in Houston on Tuesday that she is now struggling to continue working as a massage therapist as a result of her encounter with Watson in March of 2020.
‘I can no longer practice the profession that I love the most without shaking during the session,’ she said. ‘My hands shake whenever I place them on a client and have to cut the session short. If only he knew how heartbreaking that is to me.
‘I got into massage therapy to heal people — to heal their minds and bodies. To bring peace to their souls. Deshaun Watson has robbed me of that. He took that away from me, he tainted a profession in which I take enormous pride.
‘Flashes of Watson’s face rush to me in the moment. I think of his penis touching me, which sends me into a tailspin. I suffer from panic attacks, anxiety and depression. I am in counseling as a result of Deshaun Watson’s actions. I hope he knows how much pain he’s inflicted on me emotionally and physically. I hope he knows how much pain he’s inflicted on these other survivors.’
Buzbee represents all 22 of the women who filed against Watson, most of whom work as professional massage therapists.
The plaintiffs are suing for civil assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress, accusing Watson of exposing himself, touching them with his penis, and, in some cases, ejaculating on them. Two of the plaintiffs are also suing for sexual assault, claiming Watson forced them to perform oral sex on him.
Houston police and the NFL are both conducting investigations into the accusations. Buzbee said that Solis has spoken with police about her accusations. A league source told NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo that the league has been in touch with Solis as part of its investigation.
Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin has said his client will cooperate with any police inquiries.
Buzbee has shared a text message that he claims was sent by Watson to apologize to Solis
According to Solis’s filing, which was obtained by DailyMail.com, Watson exposed himself during his massage in March of 2020 before adjusting his position to force his erect penis into her hand.
‘Plaintiff abruptly ended the massage and asked Watson to leave her house,’ read the filing.
Solis said she was in tears as Watson left. On his way out, she said, Watson told her: ‘I know you have a career and a reputation, and I know you would hate for someone to mess with yours, just as I don’t want anyone messing with mine.’
‘I replay the incident over and over in my head as if I’m trying to wake up for some horrible nightmare, only that nightmare is real,’ she said Tuesday.
Later, Solis said, Watson reached out via text message to apologize for the incident, but she did not respond. Buzbee has since shared that alleged text message from Watson to Solis on social media.
‘Sorry about you feeling uncomfortable,’ read the text message. ‘Never were the intensions. Lmk if you want to work in the future. My apologies.’
Solis said she is struggling to work as a massage therapy after the incident with Watson
Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, released another statement himself on Tuesday, reiterating a previous claim that Solis originally sought a $100,000 settlement from his client.
Watson issued a statement after Solis filed her lawsuit anonymously on March 16, saying he has never disrespected any woman. Since then, 21 other women have filed lawsuits against him in Harris County (Texas).
His attorney, Rusty Hardin, has since shared statements from 18 other female massage therapists who say that Watson acted appropriately during their private sessions. Hardin has also accused the 22 plaintiffs of being motivated by financial gain.
Solis responded to that accusation on Tuesday.
‘People say I’m doing this just for money,’ Solis said. ‘That is false. I come forward now in hopes Deshaun Watson does not hurt another woman.
‘We were all deceived into thinking Deshaun Watson was a good guy, and unfortunately we know that good guys can do terrible things,’ she added.
Hardin released another statement himself on Tuesday, reiterating a previous claim that Solis originally sought a $100,000 settlement from his client.
Another accuser was also identified by Buzbee on Tuesday.
That plaintiff, Lauren Baxley, was not present at the press conference, but her letter to Watson was read for the media on Tuesday.
‘Every boundary, from professional and therapeutic to sexual and degrading, you crossed or attempted to cross,’ Baxley wrote of her alleged encounter with Watson.
Several of the massage therapists allegedly met Watson at a local hotel, The Houstonian, where he was staying in 2020