Former NFL Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is now facing 24 civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct.
At least 66 women met with the football player for massages over a 16-month period. These women have spoken up about the sexual harassment they have received from Watson during these appointments, and it is believed that there are many more who are unknown. The accused and his lawyers said that the meetings were consensual.
The public management on part of Watson’s team has been messy and left many concerned about this situation. One of his lawyers stated that “’happy endings’ are common in massage therapy and, short of paying extra for it, such conduct is not a crime”, alluding to the fact that many sessions end up in sexual intercourse and that it is not a bad thing. He later had to specify that Watson “did not pay anyone for sex”.
Despite the piling lawsuits from different women with similar testimonies, Deshaun refuses to admit he did anything wrong, even stating that he does not regret anything he has done in these massage appointments. He insisted that any sexual acts that occurred during them were purely consensual.
Sadly, in many of the cases, the grand juries have declined to indict Watson or charge him with any crime. Two grand juries in Texas did so, out of the 24 lawsuits against him.
“After a careful and thorough review of the facts and evidence documented in the reports prepared by the Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office and the Houston Police Department, as well as hearing testimony from witnesses, the Grand Jury for Brazoria County has declined to charge Deshaun Watson with any crimes”, Brazoria County District Attorney Tom Selleck told the NFL.
More than 66 women stating they have been sexually harassed by him is apparently not enough evidence to indict Watson. The NFL has tiptoed around the matter, stating they have considered disciplining him, but a moment later offering him a five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed contract for him to play quarterback for his team during the next season.
The newest lawsuit comes from Katy Williams. She operates a massage therapy business in Houston. She stated that in the first encounter with the quarterback on August 5, 2020, he acted professionally and had no issues. However, on his second appointment with her on August 9, he allegedly exposed himself to her and proceeded to touch himself. Of course, never with her consent.
His lawyer Rusty Hardin stated that the law firm cannot respond at this moment to the newest lawsuit. “We are unable to respond to the new lawsuit at this time. Our legal team has not had time to investigate this new filing and had not heard her name until today. Deshaun continues to deny he did anything inappropriate with any of the plaintiffs.”
Shortly after the lawsuit was made public, Deshaun Watson posted some cryptic lyrics on Instagram, stating “See, the blogs can’t break me down, see, I’m the voice, I don’t reply. But the rumors y’all done heard, I’m a humbly deny, yeah, yeah”. Shortly after he locked his Twitter account due to the backlash he has been receiving.
His representatives and himself insist it is time for people to move on. Like many men charged with sexual assault, the frustration that comes with a lack of legal or corporate action is palpable. Many argue that women shouldn’t come forward with their experiences of trauma, since they put the man’s career at risk. But what happens to those massagists whose daily jobs are now tainted with this man’s actions? What happens to their mental health, to their careers? Who is looking out for their wellbeing?