Seven women are now accusing Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual assault or misconduct, based on civil lawsuits filed in a district court in Harris County, Texas.
Four more lawsuits were filed Thursday night and appeared in official court records on Friday. Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the women, said in an afternoon news conference that he is preparing to file five more lawsuits against Watson and that his office has been in contact with 10 other women who have made similar allegations.
In a statement issued on social media Tuesday night after the first suit was filed, Watson denied the accusations.
Allegations Tied To Massage Sessions
The lawsuits all are linked to massage sessions in the past year and allege that Watson committed acts that included forcing one woman to perform oral sex, trying to kiss another or touching others with his genitals.
His agent, David Mulugheta, discussed sexual assault on Twitter on Friday without mentioning Watson.
“Sexual assault is real. Victims should be heard, offenders prosecuted,” he wrote. “Individuals fabricate stories in pursuit of financial gain often. Their victims should be heard, and those offenders also prosecuted. I simply hope we keep this same energy with the truth.”
Accusers’ Attorney: Not ‘About Money’
Buzbee countered at his news conference.
“This case isn’t about money. It’s certainly not about seeking publicity or fame,” he said. “This case is about female empowerment, taking the power back.”
He said all the women have a similar story — that they tell Watson they are uncomfortable, and he doesn’t listen.
Buzbee said one of the massage professionals was referred to Watson by a Texans staff member and another by his private coach.
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The NFL said Thursday that cases of alleged wrongdoing by Watson are under investigation. Watson has not been charged with any crimes, and Buzbee said he has been contacted by Houston police and intends to share information.
It’s been a rocky offseason for the 25-year-old Watson, who has requested to be traded after four seasons in Houston. The Texans signed him to a four-year, $156 million contract extension last September.
Despite the allegations, “several NFL teams” are interested in a potential trade for Watson. The prospective suitors include the Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, according to a Houston Chronicle report.
Allegations Tied To Trade Demand?
Buzbee said he wanted to dispel rumors that he is in collusion with the McNair family, owners of the Texans, against Watson, who has threatened to sit out the season to force a trade.
He acknowledged he lives in the same area as the McNairs but doesn’t know them.
“This has nothing to do with free agency. I don’t know anything about that and frankly don’t care,” Buzbee said.
Watson is represented by prominent Houston attorney Rusty Hardin, who previously worked with Roger Clemens and Adrian Peterson.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)