Another woman has filed a civil lawsuit against Deshaun Watson, bringing to 24 the number of women who have accused the Cleveland Browns quarterback of inappropriate sexual conduct during massage sessions.
The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff massaged Watson twice. The first session, according to the lawsuit, was cut short because “Watson had to leave abruptly after taking a phone call.” The lawsuit says Watson scheduled a second massage a few days later when he allegedly behaved inappropriately, which the complaint describes in explicit detail.
The lawsuit states that the plaintiff “ceased shortly after massage therapy.”
“Today we filed the twenty-fourth case alleging sexual misconduct against Deshaun Watson. The allegations made in this new case are strikingly similar to those made by many other victims,” the attorney for the 24 plaintiffs said, Tony Buzbee, in a statement. statement. “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 steadfastly for what is right. legal wrangling, complicity with the NFL, or failures of the criminal justice system, the resounding story that needs to be told here is that these women are true heroines. I repeat, 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 before a jury.”
The lawsuit also refers to comments Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, made on a Houston radio station last week.
“Watson’s attorney says ‘happy endings’ are common in massage therapy and, unless you pay extra, such conduct is not a crime,” the lawsuit states.
During an interview with SportsRadio 610 in Houston on Friday, Hardin said “happy endings” aren’t illegal. Hardin said Watson only had consensual sex, and only three times.
Hardin sent out a statement later that day in an attempt to clarify his radio remarks.
“In a Houston radio interview today, I mentioned that a massage that has a ‘happy ending’ isn’t illegal, which means it’s not illegal for someone ‘have consensual sex with a therapist after a massage, unless the sex pays. Deshaun hasn’t paid anyone for sex,” Hardin said via the statement. “I was speaking in a hypothetical situation. If there is consensual sex after a massage, it’s not a crime or the basis of a civil lawsuit.”
Buzbee told ESPN on Friday that Hardin “may have single-handedly lost his client’s case because I’m absolutely going to use that comment because I think it says a lot about how he, his team and his client think of the massage industry.”
Monday’s lawsuit is the second to be filed against Watson in the past week. In a 23rd civil case filed May 31, the lawsuit says the plaintiff had her first massage session with Watson in the summer of 2020 and her “behavior escalated.” During the third and final massage, she alleges Watson exposed himself to her, touched her between the legs and “repeatedly demanded” that she have sex with him. While 24 lawsuits are pending against Watson, another had already been filed but was later dropped.
Although two grand juries in Texas declined to prosecute Watson earlier this year, the NFL is investigating whether he violated its code of conduct and interviewed the quarterback in person last month as part of its investigation. At the league’s spring meeting, commissioner Roger Goodell said he believed the NFL was nearing the end of its investigation, but could not give a timeline for when a decision might be made. .
Watson has denied any wrongdoing and during his introductory press conference with the Browns on March 25, he said he had “never disrespected any woman”.
ESPN’s John Barr contributed to this report.