The wave of sexual misconduct allegations against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson continued Thursday night as four additional women sued Watson for sexual assault.
Seven women have now sued Watson for harassment or assault that occurred during private massage appointments with the football player, including one woman who alleges that Watson forced her to perform oral sex on him.
The women suing Watson are all represented by well-known local attorney and former Houston mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee, who addressed the lawsuits in a Friday press conference.
“The case ain’t about money, and it’s certainly not about seeking publicity or fame. I personally don’t need it, and these women don’t want it,” Buzbee said.
“If you look at the pleadings that we’ve filed carefully, we have pled the jurisdictional minimum,” Buzbee said, which is $500 in the state district courts these cases will be tried in, he explained.
In all of the incidents described in the seven lawsuits filed so far, Watson allegedly contacted the plaintiffs for private massage appointments, during which they claim Watson either exposed himself, coerced them into touching his groin or touched them with his penis.
The four new lawsuits filed Thursday all describe similar episodes. “Watson continuously attempted to get Plaintiff to touch his penis,” read one suit. Two of the suits allege that Watson “moved his body in a way that caused Watson’s penis to touch Plaintiff’s hand.” The fourth suit filed Thursday claims that Watson repeatedly exposed himself during private massage appointments with the plaintiff, who also said Watson kissed her without her consent.
The first two lawsuits
filed against Watson on Tuesday and Wednesday outline allegations that Watson touched two women with his penis during massage sessions; The third suit alleges
that Watson “coerced Plaintiff to move her mouth towards his penis, forcing Plaintiff to perform oral sex on him.”
In addition to the seven women who’ve already sued Watson, Buzbee said his firm has vetted claims about similar allegations against Watson from five other women and that additional lawsuits on their behalf will be filed in the days ahead. Buzbee also said that ten additional women have come forward detailing similar misconduct from Watson.
Tony Buzbee, who is representing Watson's accusers, claims these cases are about justice, not money.
“Twelve people that we’ve vetted that we’ve signed, 10 more that we’re talking to that had the same or similar allegations,” Buzbee said.
None of the women who have sued Watson — all of whom have done so anonymously — have filed police reports about the incidents to Buzbee’s knowledge. Buzbee explained that once all of the civil lawsuits have been filed, his team will put together a package of the cases from all of the accusers who want to disclose their identities, which will then be submitted to the Houston Police Department for criminal investigation.
“Not every victim may want to come forward,” Buzbee said. “Let’s not forget, it takes a lot of courage to step forward when you’re dealing with somebody powerful.”
When Buzbee’s filed his first lawsuit earlier this week, Watson called him “a publicity-seeking plaintiff’s lawyer” and claimed that he has “never treated any woman with anything other than the utmost respect.” He then accused Buzbee of making “a baseless six-figure settlement demand” before filing the suit, which Watson said he rejected.
Buzbee admitted that he reached out to Watson’s legal team over a month ago after the first women accusing Watson of sexual misconduct reached out to Buzbee and did in fact seek an out of court cash settlement. “We wanted to resolve this matter without a lawsuit, without any publicity,” Buzbee said.
Buzbee said one of the women his firm is representing alleged that Watson sexually harassed her in a similar way to what’s outlined in the seven suits already filed within the past month, after Buzbee told Watson’s representation about the initial round of allegations.
“Even after we had had correspondence and after we had talked to Mr. Watson’s lawyer, he did it again,” Buzbee claimed.
Earlier this week, Watson hired prominent local defense attorney Rusty Hardin to represent him in these cases. Buzbee said he’s been in touch with Hardin, who has “agreed to accept civil process for the cases that we continue to file.”
“These women who are stepping forward knew that they would face scorn and ridicule,” Buzbee said. “They all agreed to plead for the minimum jurisdictional limits of the court, and they bring these cases for one reason only: stopping further misconduct from this defendant and any others like him.”