NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson accused of sexual assault
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has been accused of sexually assaulting one woman and exposing himself to two others, according to lawsuits filed this week in Harris County, Texas. The NFL is investigating the allegations, which Watson denies.
The women, all massage therapists or masseuses, say they were assaulted by Watson during separate incidents in 2020. The most serious allegation claims that Watson, 25, forced a woman to perform oral sex on him during a massage therapy session in December of that year. That woman, identified only as “Jane Doe,” claimed that soon after she started massaging Watson, he “aggressively started dictating the massage and where he wanted Plaintiff to touch him on his body,” allegedly directing her to focus on his glutes, his “inner thighs” and his “inner glutes.”
“Watson made clear, repeatedly, that he was a professional football player, who could help, or hurt, her career,” the suit alleges.
At one point, the lawsuit states, Watson “got more aggressive, forcefully telling her to move her hand down to his pubic area,” and “instructed her to slide her hand across his genitals” before forcing her to perform oral sex on him.
The lawsuit says the victim “blacked out” for a few minutes out of fear during the encounter, and was “confused” and “terrified.”
In another lawsuit, Watson is accused of beginning a massage by lying on the table fully naked with his genitals exposed in August 2020. When the masseuse asked him to cover himself with a towel, Watson allegedly refused to do so. He is also accused in this lawsuit of “aggressively” telling the masseuse to massage areas that were inappropriately close to his genitals.
The lawsuit states that after Watson turned over onto his back, exposing himself again, and refused to cover himself with a towel, the masseuse ended the massage.
The third lawsuit also accuses Watson of directing the massage therapist to focus on his groin area, in a way that made her “extremely uncomfortable,” in March 2020. At one point, the lawsuit states, he purposefully exposed himself and touched the plaintiff’s hand with the tip of his penis.
When the plaintiff started crying and asked him to leave, Watson allegedly responded, “I know you have a career and a reputation, and I know you would hate for someone to mess with yours, just like I don’t want anyone messing with mine.” He then left without incident, the lawsuit states.
After the lawyer representing the women announced he had filed the first of the three lawsuits, Watson tweeted a statement denying any illegal conduct.
“As a result of a social media post by a publicity-seeking plaintiff’s lawyer, I recently became aware of a lawsuit that has apparently been filed against me,” Watson said Tuesday. “I have not yet seen the complaint, but I know this: I have never treated any woman with anything other than the utmost respect.”
“The plaintiff’s lawyer claims that this isn’t about money, but before filing suit he made a baseless six-figure settlement demand, which I quickly rejected,” Watson added. “Unlike him, this isn’t about money for me — it’s about clearing my name, and I look forward to doing that.”
Watson has not spoken publicly since his original statement. His attorney did not immediately respond to CBS News’ request for comment on the new allegations.
All of the plaintiffs said they’ve suffered panic attacks and “mental anguish” in the aftermath of the alleged incidents. The plaintiff accusing Watson of sexual assault cannot mention Watson’s name without “sobbing and hyperventilating,” her lawsuit said.
All three of the women are represented by Texas attorney Tony Buzbee, who said on Instagram earlier Thursday that he is now representing nine women in cases against Watson. Only three of the cases have been filed so far.
NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy confirmed that the league is investigating the allegations. “The matter is being reviewed under the NFL’s personal conduct policy,” McCarthy said in an email Thursday.
Watson is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and made headlines when he demanded a trade earlier this year. He led the league in passing yards in 2020, but grew unhappy after the team went 4-12 for the year. Still, the team’s top executives said at the time that they had no plans to trade him. The Texans have not responded to CBS News’ request for comment regarding the allegations.
Justin Carissimo contributed reporting.