Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Browns’ Deshaun Watson facing another civil lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct in Texas

NFL: Cleveland Browns Training Camp
Ken Blaze / USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson is now free to access Browns facilities halfway through his 11-game NFL suspension, but he is not yet free from allegations of troubling off-field behavior. On Thursday, a female massage therapist filed a new civil lawsuit in Houston’s Harris County District Court accusing the embattled quarterback of sexual misconduct, as Cleveland’s Fox 8 reported. This marks the 25th lawsuit filed against Watson in the last two years, though the QB previously reached confidential settlements for all but one.

The new accuser, who is unnamed, alleges that Watson pressured her into a sexual act during a private massage session that occurred in December 2020, when the former Pro Bowler still played for the Texans, per CBS Sports NFL insider Jonathan Jones. Unlike the previous 24 accusers, she is not represented by attorney Tony Buzbee. One of her lawyers, Anissah Nguyen of Universal Law Group in Houston, told Fox 8 that the woman “has been struggling” from the encounter, needed time to come forward and is now doing so “for herself and other women who have been victimized by Deshaun Watson.”

Watson and his own attorney, Rusty Hardin, have sworn innocence in the face of every accusation. The QB has since softened his stance, saying he is “truly sorry to all the women that I’ve impacted,” but previously made repeated efforts to deny any wrongdoing, even while acknowledging he courted dozens of different private therapists during his time in Houston. He was initially suspended six games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, but the ban was later extended to 11 games, and accompanied by a $5 million fine and required counseling, after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell condemned Watson’s “egregious” and “predatory” behavior.

Watson has not faced any criminal charges stemming from allegations that he sought sexual encounters through the therapy sessions. His newest accuser, Nguyen told Fox 8, is seeking a “just and expeditious” resolution to the case.

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