Editor’s note: This story contains accounts of sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a sexual assault survivor and is looking for help, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or https://www.rainn.org.
In pre-trial deposition last week, Deshaun Watson admitted a massage therapist cried after their session, but he said he didn’t know why, according to USA today.
He left and later texted her an apology after the session, which read, “Sorry you feel uncomfortable. Never the intentions. Lmk if you want to work in the future. My excuses.”
The Browns quarterback is facing 22 civil lawsuits filed by massage therapists, each detailing graphic accounts of sexual harassment and sexual assault that occurred during massage therapy sessions. Stories range from Watson allegedly refusing to cover his genitals to ‘touching’ quarterback [a plaintiff] with his penis and trying to force her to perform oral sex on him.
By a partial transcription obtained by USA today, the woman’s attorney, Tony Buzbee, asked Watson: “But do you know why you sent that apology text afterwards?”
“Yes, because she had tears in her eyes,” replied the quarterback. “And I was trying to figure out what was going on. So, I assumed she was uncomfortable for some reason. And we talked about working in the future. And so, I said, ‘We can work in the future. Let me know. And then I sent my apologies for why she had tears in her eyes.
According to USA today, the deposition last week concerned the case of Ashley Solis, who was the first woman to file a lawsuit against Watson last year. She did not respond to Watson’s message, according to her file.
A trial wouldn’t take place until February, but the quarterback has further pretrial depositions scheduled for next month, per USA today.
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Although civil lawsuits are still pending, Cleveland traded for Watson in March and signed him to a five-year contract worth $230 million guaranteed. The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center saw more than 2,300 donations come as a result of his signing, totaling more than $125,000. They received over 1,000 donations in the first 24 hours of the exchange.
The quarterback has already faced several criminal complaints; however, he does not face charges following two separate grand jury hearings.
On March 11, a Harris County grand jury returned nine “no” bills out of nine criminal complaints against Watson. A Harris County prosecutor said the decision ended criminal proceedings against him in that county and that Watson was traded soon after. A Brazoria County grand jury declined to indict Watson on a 10th count on March 24.
Watson denied assaulting, harassing or disrespecting any woman during his introductory press conference with the Browns.
He could still face disciplinary action for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. According to multiple reports, league officials will meet with the quarterback this week.
As civil deposition proceedings continue, here’s a recap of what’s happened on and off the court since Watson’s last snap.
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