The New York Times reported Tuesday that Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson booked massage appointments with at least 66 different women over 17 months, from fall 2019 through spring 2021.
The list of 66 includes the 24 women who have filed lawsuits against Watson, including two in the past week; a woman who sued Watson, but then withdrew the complaint; two women who filed criminal complaints against Watson but did not sue him; at least 15 therapists who issued statements of support for Watson at the request of his lawyers; at least four therapists contracted with the Texans; five women identified by the plaintiffs’ lawyers during the investigation for their civil suits; and at least 15 other women whose appointments with Watson were confirmed through interviews and records reviewed by The Times.
A few of these additional women spoke publicly for the first time to the Times. One woman, who did not sue Watson or complain to the police, told The Times that he was persistent in his requests for sexual acts during their massage, including “begging” her to put her mouth on his penis.
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The New York Times also reported that the nondisclosure agreement that Watson gave to some of the women to sign came from the Texans’ director of security, Brent Naccara. The Times reports that the NDA was in Watson’s locker at NRG Stadium days after a woman posted Watson’s phone number on Instagram.
The Texans declined to comment on the NDA, but said in a statement that they first found out about the allegations against Watson in March 2021 when the first lawsuit was filed.
The latest lawsuit filed Monday says the plaintiff massaged Watson twice. The first session, the lawsuit says, was cut short because “Watson had to leave abruptly after taking a phone call.” The lawsuit says Watson scheduled a second massage a few days later, when the woman says that Watson exposed himself and masturbated and “offered no apology or explanation for his conduct.” The lawsuit says the plaintiff “shortly thereafter quit massage therapy.”
In a statement released Monday evening, Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said: “We are unable to respond to the new lawsuit at this time. Our legal team has not had time to investigate this new filing and had not heard her name until today. Deshaun continues to deny he did anything inappropriate with any of the plaintiffs.”
As the 24th lawsuit was being formally announced, Watson took part in the Browns’ charity golf outing in Rocky River, Ohio. He did not speak to the media.
Though two grand juries in Texas declined to pursue criminal charges against Watson earlier this year, the NFL is investigating whether he violated its code of conduct and interviewed the quarterback in person last month as part of its investigation. At the league’s spring meeting, commissioner Roger Goodell said he thought the NFL was nearing the end of its investigation but couldn’t give a timeline for when a ruling might be made.
Watson has denied all wrongdoing.
“What I can continue to do is tell the truth,” he said on March 25, his first and only media interview since joining the Browns. “And that is I have never assaulted, disrespected or harassed any woman in my life.”
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