As promised, a 24th woman has filed a lawsuit in Harris County, Texas, alleging Deshaun Watson hired her as his massage therapist and then turned a professional session into an opportunity to sexually gratify himself as she worked.
Tony Buzbee, the lawyer who also represents 23 other women suing Watson in Texas over similar claims, said after filing the 23rd suit last week that there was likely one more forthcoming. Almost all the lawsuits make similar allegations: that Watson, at the time the star quarterback for the NFL’s Houston Texans, paid them for professional massage services but then either exposed himself, masturbated during their sessions and made other requests involving sex acts.
Watson has denied all the allegations and law enforcement in two Texas jurisdictions investigated without filing charges. In March, Watson was traded to the Cleveland Browns which signed him to a $230 million, fully-guaranteed contract, the largest in NFL history. Hey may not be able to earn any of that money on the field anytime soon; the league could suspend him under its personal conduct policy for a significant portion of the upcoming season.
USA Today reported on the claims in the latest lawsuit and the details aren’t pretty:
By the end of the second encounter, the woman said she was in “complete shock and could not speak” after Watson “continued masturbating more aggressively.” Her lawsuit said she ran into the bathroom to clean Watson’s ejaculate off her.
“Watson offered no apology or explanation for his conduct,” the lawsuit stated. “He instead got dressed, paid plaintiff $150 via Cash App and left. Plaintiff was left humiliated and traumatized. Shortly after the massage, plaintiff called her close friend to tell her what happened. They both were mortified by Watson’s conduct. There were no further massage sessions. She shortly thereafter quit massage therapy.”
Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, found himself apologizing last week after making questionable remarks during a radio interview about sex acts in the course of a massage.
“I don’t know how many men are out there now that have had a massage that perhaps occasionally there was a happy ending,” Hardin told the hosts. “Maybe there’s nobody in your listening audience that that ever happened to. I do want to point out, if it has happened, it’s not a crime. OK? Unless you are paying somebody extra or so to give you some type of sexual activity, it’s not a crime. And so at the end of the day, that’s another thing that would affect conduct. Doing something or saying something or being a way that makes you uncomfortable is not a crime. So, we’ve had two grand juries find that, and nobody seems to want to listen.”
For those unfamiliar with, uh, PornHub categories, “happy ending” is a reference to a massage that leads to a sex act and ends in orgasm for the person receiving a massage. It was clearly not the best choice of words for a guy representing someone accused of taking non-consensual sexual liberties during massage sessions, and Buzbee said he plans to take advantage of it in court.
Hardin later apologized.