Making sense of the 16 lawsuits, and what comes next


It started off as one lawsuit, filed late on a Tuesday night, alleging that Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson had purposely touched a female massage therapist with his genitals during a massage session nearly one year earlier.

One week later, there were 16 lawsuits – all of them alleging sexual misconduct by Watson during separate massage sessions, on separate dates, in seemingly distinct locations. Two of the lawsuits also include claims of sexual assault.

And the civil complaints, legal experts say, are now just part of the equation.

“I think that Deshaun Watson’s in a bit of trouble here,” said Meredith Duncan, a professor at the University of Houston Law Center. “This isn’t going to go away any time soon for him, and I certainly don’t think that there’s ‘nothing there’ just because criminal charges haven’t been filed.”

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is under investigation by the NFL.

Watson, 25, has broadly denied wrongdoing and said he’s always treated women with respect. His attorney, Rusty Hardin, has said he believes the allegations against Watson are “meritless” and that one of the plaintiffs tried to blackmail the quarterback.

Yet between the 16 civil complaints, an ongoing NFL investigation and the lingering possibility of criminal charges, it’s becoming increasingly clear that this matter won’t be resolved quickly.





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