A 24th woman sued Deshaun Watson and accused him of sexual misconduct in 2020, marking the second time in a week that a new lawsuit has been filed against the quarterback after all others were filed in March and April 2021.
Watson has denied any wrongdoing, but the recent spate of new allegations has clouded the start of his run as a new star for the Cleveland Browns, a team that recently handed him a record-breaking five-year, $230 million guaranteed contract.
In the latest lawsuit filed this week in Harris County, Texas, a Houston massage therapist said she gave Watson two massages in her apartment in August 2020 and he masturbated in front of her and ejaculated during the second meeting. The first massage was “professional,” the suit said, and Watson had to leave abruptly after taking a phone call.
At the end of the second encounter, the woman said she was “completely shocked and couldn’t speak” after Watson “continued to masturbate more aggressively”. Her lawsuit said she ran into the bathroom to clean up Watson’s ejaculate.
“Watson offered no apology or explanation for his conduct,” the lawsuit said. “He dressed up instead, paid the plaintiff $150 via Cash App and left. The applicant was humiliated and traumatized. Shortly after the massage, the complainant called her close friend to tell her what had happened. They were both mortified by Watson’s conduct. There were no more massage sessions. Soon after, she quit massage therapy.
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The woman’s lawsuit said that “although she has always been professional
with Watson, as she has been with every client, she sometimes blames herself.”
Her costume indicates that she suffers from depression and anxiety and had trouble sleeping after the encounter. The lawsuit seeks nominal compensatory damages, much like the other lawsuits against Watson.
Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, released a statement Monday afternoon.
“We are unable to respond to the retrial at this time,” the statement said. “Our legal team did not have time to investigate this new case and had not heard his name until today. Deshaun continues to deny doing anything improper with any of plaintiffs.”
The woman’s attorney, Tony Buzbee, is also representing the other 23 women who sued Watson. He released his own statement on Monday:
“Today we filed the twenty-fourth case alleging sexual misconduct against Deshaun Watson,” the statement read. “The allegations made in this new case are strikingly similar to those made by many other victims. Lost in the media frenzy surrounding Deshaun Watson, there are twenty-four strong and courageous women who, despite ridicule, legal shenanigans and media scrutiny, continue to stand firm for what is right. Legal wrangling, NFL complicity or failures in the criminal justice system aside, the resounding story worth telling here is that these women are true heroines. Again, our entire team is incredibly proud to represent these women, and we look forward to the day when we can fully lay out their cases in front of a jury.
The other complaint filed last week alleges he had three massage encounters with a woman in 2020 who said he exposed himself to her, touched her between the legs, demanded sex and asked to be touched in her private parts. Hardin previously told USA TODAY Sports that the latter woman “has no credibility with anyone who knows her” and had a “vendetta against Deshaun for a year and a half.”
The other lawsuits filed in 2021 generally say Watson contacted women on social media for massages, then exposed himself to them, had his genitals touched without their consent and, in some cases, attempted to coerce them. to oral sex.
“Each of the cases against him is strikingly similar, evidencing a habit or custom: Watson searches Instagram for random strangers, as he has done over a hundred times,” the latest lawsuit states.
The NFL has investigated the allegations and could suspend him if he is found to have violated the league’s personal conduct policy. Watson, 26, has not been arrested or charged. Hardin said the women were all lying and blamed Buzbee for what he said was “willing to say just about anything to get more publicity.” Hardin also said Buzbee viewed Watson as a “potential payday.”
Hardin said three of the plaintiffs had consensual sex with Watson, which the women dispute in their lawsuits.
In March, two separate Houston-area grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal charges after receiving 10 combined complaints filed by women against Watson. The civil cases are continuing and will not be tried until March 2023 at the earliest.
Watson was with the Browns Monday morning on their golf outing in Rocky River, Ohio.
Asked about the 24th trial, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said, “With this, we’re just trying to respect the process and let him deal with it.”
Contributor: Nate Ulrich, Akron Beacon Journal.
Follow journalist Brent Schrotenboer @Schrotenboer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org