One of the women who has sued Deshaun Watson, accusing him of sexual misconduct, has also sued Watson’s former NFL team, the Houston Texans, accusing the organization of enabling the quarterback’s conduct in massage sessions.
The lawsuit filed Monday is the first “of what is likely to be many against the Houston Texans in connection with Deshaun Watson’s conduct,” the women’s attorney, Tony Buzbee, said in a statement Monday. “Suffice it to say that the overwhelming evidence that has been gathered suggesting that Houston Texans enabled Watson’s conduct is incredibly damning. We believe the Texans knew, or certainly should have known, of Watson’s behavior. Furthermore, we believe the submission speaks for itself.”
Watson, now the Cleveland Browns quarterback, recently reached a confidential settlement with 20 of the 24 women who have sued him over his alleged sexual misconduct at massage sessions in 2020 and early 2021. He faces an NFL hearing over his conduct Tuesday that could result in a ban of a year or more.
In this case, the plaintiff previously sued Watson, failed to settle with him, and is now suing the Texans alleging that the team was part of a civil conspiracy and failed to supervise him or warn them about his behavior and inclinations.
She claimed Watson drove about 35 minutes to her mother’s home in Manvel, Texas after requesting a massage from her on Instagram in November 2020. She had two encounters with him, and she said he exposed himself to her and ejaculated on her during the second encounter. The same woman testified before a grand jury in Brazoria County, Texas, in March, the second grand jury that chose not to indict him on criminal charges.
Watson, 26, has denied wrongdoing. The Texans issued a statement Monday.
“We are aware of the lawsuit filed against us today, the statement said. “Since March 2021, we have given our full support and compliance with law enforcement and the various investigations. We will continue to take the necessary steps to address the allegations against our organization.”
The new lawsuit shared a different narrative.
“The Texans knew, or should have known, that despite the tremendous massage and physical therapy resources available to Watson through the Texan organization, and despite repeated admonitions from the Texan training staff to only use the resources provided, Watson sought Watson instead and hire his own ‘massage therapy’ wives from Instagram, away from Texan facilities,” reads the new lawsuit. “The facts show that Watson has repeatedly committed Texan resources to this ‘therapy.'”
Those resources included rooms set up for him at the Houstonian Hotel, massage tables made available to him for private massage sessions, and a non-disclosure agreement form that was provided to him by the head of Texas security, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also says the Texans removed a potentially explosive web post detailing Watson’s behavior towards another woman during a massage in 2020. Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said the woman unlawfully leaked Watson’s personally identifiable information online in the case, prompting the Texans to help protect Watson by providing him with a non-disclosure agreement form for use in massages.
The lawsuit alleges that the owner of the company that provides massage services to Texans complained to Texans that Watson was using Instagram to seek out unqualified strangers for massages. The lawsuit says the store’s owner, Genuine Touch, also knew what she described as Watson’s “towel trick” in massage sessions — his insistence on using a small towel instead of the standard drape.
“She even reported this alarming fact to the Texans, who did nothing about it,” the lawsuit says.