Deshaun Watson's Attorney Says Qb Had Previous Massages That Ended in Consensual SexApril 9, 2021
Rusty Hardin, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson's lawyer, said Friday his client has had consensual sexual encounters with massage therapists in the past.
Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Hardin told reporters during a press conference that Watson "did not coerce the massage therapists or use his status as a celebrity to violate the ability of the massage therapists to provide consent."
Hardin added that he "absolutely" intends to take each of the lawsuits that have been filed against Watson to trial rather than attempt to reach settlements with the plaintiffs.
Houston-based attorney Tony Buzbee has filed civil lawsuits on behalf of 22 different women who have accused Watson of sexual assault and misconduct during massage appointments between early 2020 and January 2021.
A majority of the women in the lawsuits are licensed massage therapists, but there are also personal trainers and licensed aestheticians involved. Watson is accused of making unwanted sexual advances, exposing himself, touching the women with his penis, ejaculating on the women and, in two of the filings, forcing or coercing oral sex.
Per ESPN's Sarah Barshop, as of Friday afternoon, 14 of the 22 women suing Watson have either agreed or been ordered by a district court judge to re-file their lawsuits using their real names following emergency hearings held on Friday in the cases.
Watson denied the allegations in a statement released on Twitter on March 16. He remains under investigation by the NFL under the personal conduct policy. He is also being investigated in a criminal complaint made to the Houston Police Department.