A complete of twenty-two civil lawsuits have been filed towards Deshaun Watson accusing the Texans quarterback of inappropriate conduct and sexual assault.

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 sample of preying on susceptible girls,” per ESPN’s Sarah Barshop.

The lawsuits have all been filed by girls who accuse Watson of sexual misconduct starting from inappropriate touching to pressured oral intercourse.

Here’s what we all know thus far about these lawsuits and the way Watson and the NFL have responded to the accusations.

What to find out about lawsuits towards Deshaun Watson

Lawsuits 1 and a couple of

The primary two lawsuits have been filed by Buzbee in Harris County, Texas. The primary lawsuit stems from an incident that allegedly occurred at a therapeutic massage therapist’s dwelling in March 2020, and the second lawsuit stems from an incident that allegedly occurred at The Houstonian Lodge, Membership and Spa in August 2020. The plaintiffs in each of these lawsuits are feminine therapeutic massage therapists who filed as Jane Doe.

Each lawsuits allege that Watson dedicated civil assault by exposing himself and touching the plaintiffs together with his penis. Each lawsuits additionally say the plaintiffs grew “uncomfortable” throughout the massages, and the girls abruptly ended their classes after Watson acted inappropriately. They didn’t reply to any extra makes an attempt at communication from Watson, who initially arrange the conferences by way of Instagram direct messages, per the lawsuits.

“It grew to become obvious that Watson wished a therapeutic massage for just one purpose — intercourse,” the primary lawsuit states.

Watson allegedly advised the plaintiff concerned within the March 2020 incident: “I do know you’ve gotten a profession and a status, and I do know you’ll hate for somebody to mess with yours, similar to I do not need anybody messing with mine.” She thought of Watson’s comment to be a risk, per the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs are searching for compensatory damages with a purpose to “forestall Watson from additional like conduct.”

Lawsuit 3

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.

Whereas the third lawsuit alleges an analogous sample of habits towards the therapeutic massage therapist, it additionally says Watson “received extra aggressive, forcefully telling her to maneuver her hand right down to his pubic space.” The lawsuit claims Watson pressured the girl, who felt “intimidated and threatened,” to carry out oral intercourse on him and that she “didn’t consent.”

“Plaintiff needs she may have been extra brave and would have ended the therapeutic massage,” the lawsuit states. “However she felt helpless within the second. Plaintiff was underneath Watson’s management.”

Lawsuits 4-7

4 extra civil lawsuits have been filed towards Watson on March 19, bringing the entire to seven. Three of the 4 lawsuits allege Watson made inappropriate contact with girls throughout therapeutic massage classes, per Barshop. The fourth claims Watson tried to kiss a lady towards her will.

Lawsuits 8-14

Seven extra civil lawsuits have been filed on March 22, together with one which accuses Watson of sexually assaulting a lady in March 2021 — the newest allegation so far. The alleged incidents included within the seven lawsuits vary from April 2020 to March 2021.

“Plaintiff believes Watson to be a serial predator,” the 14th lawsuit states.

Lawsuits 15-19

Lawsuits 15 and 16 have been filed on March 23, alleging habits much like what was described by different plaintiffs. Three extra lawsuits have been then filed on March 28, alleging Watson “purposely” touched girls together with his penis.

One of those lawsuits states Watson had been “deleting Instagram messages and contacting those that formally supplied him massages, in an try to settle.” Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, denied that Watson had “reached out on to his accusers in an try to settle these instances” and stated Watson had not deleted any Instagram messages since March 15.

Lawsuits 20 and 21

Two extra lawsuits have been filed on March 30, together with one which alleged Watson groped a therapeutic massage therapist, coerced her into oral intercourse and ejaculated on her, per Barshop.

After these two lawsuits have been filed, Hardin launched statements from 18 girls saying that Watson “by no means made them really feel uncomfortable or demanded something exterior the scope of knowledgeable therapeutic massage.”

Lawsuit 22

Lawsuit 22 was filed on April 2, alleging Watson “assaulted and harassed plaintiff by touching her together with his penis and exposing himself.” The lawsuit additionally claims that Watson used “greater than 50 totally different girls for massages” in a short while body.

Barshop reported that Hardin was granted two motions April 8 for hearings to find out whether or not Buzbee must be ordered to reveal the accusers’ identities. The hearings will happen April 9.

“Mr. Buzbee’s use of nameless lawsuits violates Texas regulation and the essential idea of equity,” Hardin stated in an announcement. Hardin wrote in a single courtroom submitting that figuring out the ladies’s identities is “the one method” Watson can “correctly defend himself.”

Lawsuit 23

Lawsuit 23 was filed April 14, a day after Hardin advised reporters that one of many preliminary 22 fits had been dropped. Professional Soccer Speak, citing the Houston Chronicle’s reporting, reported that the plaintiff within the newest swimsuit is a Houston make-up artist who is alleging that Watson sexually assaulted and harassed her throughout therapeutic massage classes in September 2020 and November 2020. The lady is also alleging that Watson requested her to the touch his penis and that he groped and tried to kiss her.

Who’s Tony Buzbee?

Buzbee is Houston-based lawyer of The Buzbee Legislation Agency. He’s a former Marine officer and attended the regulation college on the College of Houston Legislation Middle, in keeping with his bio on The Buzbee Legislation Agency website. He has represented a variety of high-profile shoppers, together with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

He has additionally beforehand run for public workplace, most just lately launching an unsuccessful marketing campaign for mayor of Houston in 2019 towards incumbent Sylvester Turner. 

Throughout a March 19 press convention, Buzbee advised reporters he had been in contact with the Houston Police Department, and he famous not one of the girls he’s representing met with the police previous to talking with him. Nonetheless, the Houston Police Division issued an announcement by way of its official Twitter account on March 19 saying that it was “unaware of any contact between HPD and Houston lawyer Tony Buzbee.”

In a March 30 Instagram submit, Buzbee stated that he not plans to work with the Houston Police Division.

“Our staff has been roundly criticized as a result of these quite a few courageous girls have not filed formal prison complaints with HPD (though we’ve supplied data to different organizations),” Buzzbee stated. “Right here is my fear: Once I ran for Houston mayor towards the present mayor, I known as for the resignation of the previous police chief. I used to be thus reluctant initially in these essential instances to offer data to HPD, at the very least whereas Artwork Acevedo was the Police Chief — although my brother in regulation is a long-term HPD officer. Mr. Acevedo has now left Houston for Miami.

“But, I’ve since realized that my authorized opponent, Mr. Hardin, has a son who’s on of the unique Command Employees of HPD. I’m not saying in any method that Deshaun Watson’s lawyer, Mr. Hardin, has a son who has a place that might compromise HPD and its investigation. I assist his service, together with all Houston law enforcement officials — I believe the rank and file know that. However, I’m saying that me and my shoppers will go elsewhere to offer our proof to investigative authorities.”

On April 2, Houston police announced on Twitter {that a} criticism towards Watson had been filed and the division was investigating. HPD’s full assertion:

“Right this moment, a complainant filed a report with the Houston Police Division regarding Deshaun Watson. As with all allegation, the Houston Police Division is now conducting an investigation and won’t remark additional throughout the investigative course of.”

Buzbee advised The Washington Submit on April 14 that three of Watson’s accusers had just lately spoken with Houston police; the Submit reported these girls make at the very least 5 who’ve been in touch with native regulation enforcement. 

What has Deshaun Watson stated?

Watson posted the following statement to Twitter on March 16:

Because of a social media submit by a publicity-seeking plaintiff’s lawyer, I just lately grew to become conscious of a lawsuit that has apparently been filed towards me. I’ve not but seen the criticism, however I do know this: I’ve by no means handled any girl with something aside 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 rapidly rejected. In contrast to him, this is not about cash for me — it is about clearing my identify, and I look ahead to doing that. 

Hardin advised ESPN that he spoke with Watson on March 17 and agreed to symbolize him.

“I am actual snug with the sort of person who Deshaun Watson is, and I do not prefer to publicly remark till I get all of the details,” Hardin stated, including that Watson “has an excellent status right here within the Houston space, and the allegations are actually inconsistent with the sort of particular person he’s.”

Watson’s agent, David Mulugheta, shared his ideas on the lawsuits in a tweet posted on March 19:

Hardin launched a extra detailed assertion to TMZ Sports activities on March 23:

“I wish to emphasize on the outset that we and Deshaun acknowledge that sexual assault and harassment will not be solely illegal, however morally mistaken. It takes braveness for ladies to return ahead to report being mistreated, significantly after they connect their names to a lawsuit. We don’t take these allegations flippantly. Nonetheless, equity to the accused is equally as essential.

“Opposing counsel has orchestrated a circus-like environment by utilizing social media to publicize 14 ‘Jane Doe’ lawsuits throughout the previous seven days in a way calculated to inflame the general public and malign Deshaun’s in any other case sterling status. As well as, the tactic of refusing our requests to confidentially present the names of the plaintiffs so we will totally examine their claims makes uncovering the reality extraordinarily tough. Anonymity is commonly vital as a defend for victims however opposing counsel has used it as a sword to publicly humiliate Deshaun earlier than the reality‑searching for course of may even start.

“I consider that any allegation that Deshaun pressured a lady to commit a sexual act is totally false. And within the one case wherein we’ve been in a position to determine a plaintiff, we’ve robust proof exhibiting the allegation is fake. In January of this 12 months, a lady tried to blackmail Deshaun by demanding $30,000 in trade for her ‘indefinite silence’ about what she acknowledged was a consensual encounter. It’s our perception this girl is the plaintiff in Trigger No. 2021-15613. This calls into query the legitimacy of the opposite instances as nicely.

“We now have acquired quite a few unsolicited feedback prior to now week from many licensed therapeutic massage therapists who’ve labored with Deshaun lately. These girls describe him as a gentleman and a mannequin shopper who by no means engaged in inappropriate conduct. Certainly, earlier than these salacious claims, everybody who related to Deshaun described him as an impressive, respectful and compassionate man.

“Once more, we’re taking the allegations very severely however we ask solely that individuals not rush to judgment, that individuals not be unduly influenced by opposing counsel’s antics, and that they let basic equity to each side rule the day. Thanks on your persistence and understanding.”

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 way of a social media submit final night time. That 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 throughout the Houston Texans group severely. We are going to await additional info earlier than making any extra statements on this incident.

Professional Soccer Speak 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 shoppers cooperate with it.

Buzbee posted, then deleted, after which reposted the letter on his Instagram web page. He ultimately wrote that his aspect “will cooperate with the NFL’s investigation and with some other investigative authorities.”

An nameless league official told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the league is investigating Watson underneath its private conduct coverage. The Texans stated in a second assertion on March 19 (per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle) that they’d “keep in shut contact” with the league throughout the investigation.  

Moreover, groups which may be interested by doubtlessly buying and selling for Watson are monitoring the scenario, in keeping with Schefter.

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