UPDATED: 8:37 a.m. ET, March 30, 2021 —
Three more women have come forward to file sexual misconduct suits against NFL player Deshaun Watson. The women are ID’D as “Jane Doe” and will be represented by Houston-based lawyer Tony Buzbee.
Last week a total of 16 lawsuits have been filed, accusing the Houston Texans quarterback of sexual misconduct spanning back to March 2020. One of the incidents reportedly occurred earlier this month.
Buzbee says he will submit his findings to the Harris County District Attorney in hopes that a grand jury will be empaneled. Buzbee claims he has spoken to almost two dozen women, all of who have yet to file against Watson.
In the newest filings the women accuse Watson of similar acts, citing that he exposed his genitals during massage sessions after Watson reached out for their services on social media and through a mutual acquaintance, NBC News reports. One woman claims she was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to Watson asking her to massage his groin. Another woman said that Watson exposed his penis while moving his genitals towards her hand until he ejaculated. A third woman says he directed her to massage between his penis and testicles, but the woman said she fired him as a client after he continued to touch her without her consent.
In the 16 suits filed earlier this month, the incidents reportedly took place at Watson’s home, different locations in Houston, and a message therapy business in Georgia. Several of Watson’s accusers, who remain unnamed, claim they were contacted by the NFL player for massage appointments and quickly became mortified by Watson’s behavior after he refused to cover his genitals. In multiple instances accusers say Watson touched them with his penis. In once case, a woman claims he forced her to perform oral sex.
Watson has denied the allegations, but they speak to a growing concern regarding consent, and the ways people in high-profile positions routinely go without consequences.
Watson has not yet faced disciplinary action by the NFL over the accusations, and even as of Sunday, six teams were interested in trading to have Watson on their team, even though seven active lawsuits were filed against him at the time.
Lisa Friel, special counsel for the NFL, has launched an investigation into Watson under the league’s personal conduct policy. But according to The Athletic, the investigation could take months or longer.
With each passing day the calls for the NFL to take disciplinary action grow larger, as the league has been slow to respond to serious accusations such as domestic violence and sexual misconduct before. A 2019 sexual assault claim against Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Antonio Brown remains open. Chad Wheeler, who was arrested in Jan. for savagely beating his ex-girlfriend, was recently booted from the Seattle Seahawks, but could potentially be picked up by another team next season.
Prior to the announcement of the last two cases against Watson, his attorney Rusty Hardin issued a statement calling the accusations “false,” and claimed the woman who accused Watson of rape attempted to blackmail him for $30,000.
Hardin claims Buzbee “orchestrated a circus-like atmosphere by using social media to publicize 14 ‘Jane Doe’ lawsuits,” and argues that Buzbee has refused “to confidentially provide the names of the plaintiffs so we can fully investigate their claims.”