Massage Therapists Accuse NFL Player of Sexual Assault

Quarterback Deshaun Watson faces series of lawsuits from women
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2021 5:05 PM CDT
Massage Therapists Accuse NFL Player of Sexual Assault
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson addresses a news conference after a game in January.   (AP Photo/Ed Zurga, File)

At least seven lawsuits have been filed against a star NFL quarterback, accusing him of making inappropriate contact and sexually assaulting massage therapists in the Houston area. "I have never treated any woman with anything other than the utmost respect," Deshaun Watson of the Texans tweeted after the first suit was filed this week. He said he had rejected "a baseless six-figure settlement demand." The team and the league indicated that they're aware of the lawsuits, ESPN reports, and the NFL said, "The matter is under review." One woman's filing says Watson forced her to perform oral sex during his massage. Six of the suits detail one-time encounters with Watson, while the seventh says Watson sexually assaulted her more than once.

The women, who are not named in their suits, said in the filings that they were intimidated by Watson because of his size and fame. "Watson's behavior is part of a disturbing pattern of preying on vulnerable women," one suit filed Thursday says. The Houston lawyer representing the women said he now has 12 women as clients and expects to file another five suits with similar accusations against Watson, per NBC Sports. Tony Buzbee also said he's been contacted by Houston police. The Texans traded for a quarterback, Ryan Finley, on Friday, per Sports Illustrated. Watson, 25, said in his tweet that he looks forward to clearing his name. (Read more sexual misconduct stories.)

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