A massage therapist has filed a civil lawsuit accusing Houston Texan quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct, which he denies.
In the lawsuit, filed Tuesday night in Harris District Court, the nameless massage therapist alleges Watson touched her hand with his penis on March 30th during a session at her home in the Houston area, where she runs her massage business. She strives for “minimal compensation damage”.
The woman’s attorney, former Houston mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee, first announced the filing of the lawsuit on social media Tuesday night. He wrote on Instagram that it is “not about money”, but about “dignity and stopping behavior that should be stopped”.
Watson later responded with a statement on Twitter that he had not seen the complaint and only became aware of its existence through Buzbee’s post. He wrote that he “has never treated a woman with anything other than the greatest respect”.
“The plaintiff’s attorney claims it is not about money, but before filing a lawsuit, he made an unsubstantiated six-digit settlement claim, which I quickly denied,” Watson wrote in the statement. “Unlike him, I’m not about money – it’s about clearing my name and I’m looking forward to it.”
An attorney for Watson was not immediately listed in the online court records. Buzbee did not respond to an email requesting a comment. The NFL and Texans said they were aware of the lawsuit but declined to comment on its contents.
“We take these allegations, involving individuals within the Houston Texans organization, seriously,” the team said in a statement. “We will wait for more information before we make further statements about this incident.”
The lawsuit alleges that Watson contacted the massage therapist known as “Jane Doe” on Instagram last year and asked for an appointment for a massage. According to the complaint, the two agreed to meet at her home on March 30th. (COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic about three weeks before that date, on March 11th.)
After letting Watson in and leaving the room, the massage therapist returned to find that he had undressed and, according to the complaint, was lying with a towel on the massage table covering his groin. She claims he later exposed himself and deliberately touched her hand with his penis.
According to the complaint, Watson later contacted the massage therapist to apologize for the incident and she did not respond. She claims she later received messages on Instagram from two other NFL players and believes they were referred to her by Watson.
It is unclear whether the massage therapist reported the incident to the police or is planning to do so.
The 25-year-old Watson led the NFL past year and has been called up to the Pro Bowl for the past three seasons. His future in Houston is unclear, however, as ESPN reported in January that he has since asked the Texans to sell him to another team.
The team officials, meanwhile, have given no public indication that they plan to trade their star quarterback. Texas coach David Culley told NFL.com last week that the Clemson product is “our starting quarterback as of now.”
Contact Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.