24 Women Have Allegedly Come Forward Against Deshaun Watson
This was a bad situation when the first allegations hit and Deshaun Watson released a statement saying that he'd never treated "any woman with anything other than the utmost respect." But it's become so much worse since then.
Since Watson's statement, 13 more alleged victims have filed civil suits with Houston-based lawyer Tony Buzbee, who has also claimed that there are 24 women total who have come forward with similar accounts of disturbing actions by the Houston Texans quarterback. Watson has had his own tumultuous offseason with the team before these allegations ever surfaced.
The allegations against Watson from the 24 women all involve Watson making unwanted advances both verbally and physically. ESPN has reported a detailed list of every lawsuit filed against Watson so far, with many of the allegations revolving around massage appointments where Watson exposed himself and tried to coerce sexual contact. All 14 lawsuits are in regards to incidents in the past year, with the first incident occurring on March 30th, 2020.
Rusty Hardin, Watson's attorney, has finally responded by issuing a statement which PFT released in full. The statement begins with an acknowledgment that the actions described so far are wrong, but goes on to call the entire set of allegations into question because of interactions that Watson had with one of the alleged accusers.
Here is Hardin's full statement:
I want to emphasize at the outset that we and Deshaun recognize that sexual assault and harassment are not only unlawful but morally wrong. It takes courage for women to come forward to report being mistreated, particularly when they attach their names to a lawsuit. We do not take these allegations lightly. However, fairness to the accused is equally as important.
Opposing counsel has orchestrated a circus-like atmosphere by using social media to publicize 14 ‘Jane Doe’ lawsuits during the past seven days in a manner calculated to inflame the public and malign Deshaun’s otherwise sterling reputation. In addition, the tactic of refusing our requests to confidentially provide the names of the plaintiffs so we can fully investigate their claims makes uncovering the truth extremely difficult. Anonymity is often necessary as a shield for victims but opposing counsel has used it as a sword to publicly humiliate Deshaun before the truth‑seeking process can even begin.
I believe that any allegation that Deshaun forced a woman to commit a sexual act is completely false. And in the one case in which we have been able to identify a plaintiff, we have strong evidence showing the allegation is false. In January of this year, a woman attempted to blackmail Deshaun by demanding $30,000 in exchange for her ‘indefinite silence’ about what she stated was a consensual encounter. It is our belief this woman is the plaintiff in Cause No. 2021-15613. This calls into question the legitimacy of the other cases as well.
We have received numerous unsolicited comments in the past week from many licensed massage therapists who have worked with Deshaun in recent years. These women describe him as a gentleman and a model client who never engaged in inappropriate conduct. Indeed, before these salacious claims, everyone who associated with Deshaun described him as an outstanding, respectful, and compassionate man.
Again, we are taking the allegations very seriously but we ask only that people not rush to judgment, that people not be unduly influenced by opposing counsel’s antics, and that they let fundamental fairness to both sides rule the day. Thank you for your patience and understanding.