49ers

Three women file civil assault lawsuits vs. Texans QB Watson

49ers

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is being accused of civil assault by three unnamed women in lawsuits filed Tuesday and Wednesday in Houston.

Tony Buzbee, a Houston-based lawyer who’s representing the women – all of whom are massage therapists -- said in an Instagram post on Thursday that his firm has been hired by nine women to bring cases against Watson, though just three lawsuits have been filed in Harris County, Texas.

Buzbee wrote in his post that while only three suits have been filed, he will file the remaining ones "in due course" after completing their due diligence.

Buzbee also posted on Instagram a picture of a letter from the NFL league office, notifying him that the league has begun an investigation into the allegations.

Watson refuted the first woman’s allegations in a Twitter statement Tuesday night, saying he looked forward to “clearing my name” in the matter, and hasn’t issued a specific statement.

NBC Sports Bay Area obtained copies of all three lawsuits, which revealed the women’s claims in detail.

In the first lawsuit, the woman -- listed as “Jane Doe” in the filing -- said Watson messaged her on Instagram in her occupation as a licensed massage therapist who works out of her home. They arranged a March 30, 2020, appointment, and Watson showed up for a massage as scheduled.

The woman said that after she left the room for Watson to prepare for the massage, she returned to see him lying on the table “with only a small towel covering his groin area.” She “began to feel extremely uncomfortable” 25 minutes into the massage, according to the lawsuit, and alleged that “it became apparent that Watson wanted a massage for only one reason -- sex.” Then, the lawsuit claimed, Watson “purposely exposed” himself to the woman and “purposely touched” her hand with his penis.

 

According to the lawsuit, the woman then asked Watson to leave, and he responded with what she considered a verbal threat. Watson later sent a text-message apology to the woman, the lawsuit said, and two other NFL players also messaged her on Instagram for massages, which “disturbed” her.

In the second lawsuit, the woman -- also listed as “Jane Doe” in the filing -- alleged that Watson booked an August 28, 2020, massage, and flew her from her Atlanta home to Houston. There, the woman and Watson met in his hotel suite, where she alleged that he was nude on a massage table, exposing himself, and refused her repeated requests to cover himself with a towel. According to the lawsuit, Watson also grabbed the woman’s hand, rubbed her arm and pulled her toward him while he was nude.

The third lawsuit alleges that Watson sent a direct message to a woman, also listed as "Jane Doe" in the filing, in December of 2020, scheduling a massage for Dec. 28 at an office building in Houston. The plaintiff alleges that during the massage, Watson "got more aggressive, forcefully telling her to move her hand down to his pubic area." According to the lawsuit, Watson forced the woman to perform oral sex on him, to which she "did not consent."

All three women seek jury trials on the claim of civil assault against Watson. They want monetary damages awarded, as the women have suffered from panic attacks, depression, anxiety and difficulty sleeping after the alleged assaults, according to their lawsuits.

Watson, a rumored 49ers trade target this offseason, has been in Houston for four years after the Texans selected him 12th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, with three Pro Bowl appearances and 104 touchdown passes against just 36 interceptions.

"We became aware of a civil lawsuit involving Deshaun Watson through a social media post last night," the Texans said in a statement issued Wednesday, per ESPN. "This is the first time we heard of the matter, and we hope to learn more soon. We take accusations of this nature that involve anyone within the Houston Texans organization seriously. We will await further information before making any additional statements on this incident."