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Deshaun Watson Sexual Misconduct Allegations: What We Know so Far

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Culled from Complex News Letter

This week, seven women filed lawsuits against Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson alleging sexual misconduct—including one woman who said the NFL star forced her to perform oral sex on him. The civil lawsuits, filed in Harris County, Texas District Court, describe a similar pattern. These women, who perform professional massage services for work, were contacted by Watson. They scheduled massage sessions. When these women showed up to the sessions, Watson ultimately engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior, court papers allege. The women described feeling scared; some described worrying about his physical size, while others expressed fear because of his prominence.

These lawsuits have also called out the NFL, saying it’s “notorious in its own right for a culture that fosters sexual harassment and sexual assault. Despite its lip service and a strong ad campaign to the contrary, many of its players have been accused of committing heinous sexual crimes against women. The NFL is no stranger to scandal, certainly when it comes to offenses against women.”

Watson has denied mistreating women. Here’s what we know about the allegations so far.

The alleged March 30, 2020 incident

In a March 16 lawsuit, this woman said that Watson contacted her in late March 2020, asking to schedule a massage. Like other women who have filed suits against Watson, she “found it somewhat peculiar that a NFL player would request a massage from her, because she is not yet a well-known masseuse and it was her belief that a player like Watson likely had access to an entire team of trainers and the like,” according to the lawsuit. But she was trying to grow her business, and so she agreed.

Before their scheduled March 30 session at her house, he asked if “she was going to be alone,” court papers state. When Watson arrived, she left him in the room. After she went back in, he was on the massage table, “completely naked with only a small towel covering his groin area.” He had brought this towel. He “aggressively” told her how to perform the massage, instructing her “only to use her hands,” and “repeatedly stated that he wanted her focus to be on his groin area.” Less than a half hour later, she felt very uncomfortable, as “it became apparent that Watson wanted a massage for only one reason—sex,” court papers state.

Watson “continued to aggressively attempt to steer the conversation to how [she] was not rubbing him the way he wanted. Several times he specifically kept trying to direct her to his penis. At one point, he purposely exposed the tip of his penis from under the towel. Watson was at this point fully erect, and moved his body so he could expose himself more. As a result of his moving of his hips, Watson purposely touched the Plaintiff’s hand with the tip of his erect penis,” court papers state.

She stopped the massage and asked him to leave. He responded: “I know you have a career and a reputation, and I know you would hate for someone to mess with yours, just like I don’t want anyone messing with mine.” She took Watson’s statement as a threat. He later texted her to apologize. Although she didn’t respond, she received direct messages on Instagram from two other pro football players several weeks later, who told her that “Big D” had referred them to her, the lawsuit states.

The alleged June 2, 2020 incident

In this March 18 lawsuit, a woman stated that she and Watson spoke on the phone after he contacted her, asking about a massage. He allegedly told her: “I make a lot of massage therapists uncomfortable and it’s really hard for me to find someone who will meet my needs.” Watson said he wanted massage work specifically targeting his glutes. The woman, who “routinely” provides massages to high-profile athletes, including NFL players, assumed it would be a professional session.

Before their June 2 session started, Watson asked to shower. She left the room and when she came back, he was “completely naked, exposing his buttocks.” He repeatedly refused her requests to cover up and would “purposely move to knock the towel off.”

During the session, Watson “exposed his penis to Plaintiff several times. Watson laughingly told Plaintiff she could move his penis out of the way.” He wound up getting an erection. “Multiple times he moved his body in such a way to make his penis touch Plaintiff,” court papers maintain.

The alleged August 28, 2020 incident

According to a lawsuit filed on March 17, Watson reached out to this woman, a single mom in Atlanta, in August 2020 about a massage. Watson allegedly flew this woman to Houston from Atlanta for an Aug. 28 massage session. Prior to the session, he told her “he wanted to specifically focus on his glutes and his groin area and asked if she was comfortable with working on those areas. He then asked about quads and the Achilles.” The woman “indicated she understood Watson’s requests.”

After arriving at the Houstonian Hotel, Club, and Spa, where Watson had a suite, he “immediately got completely nude on the massage table with his penis completely exposed. Plaintiff firmly told Watson that he needed to use a towel to cover himself as that was the appropriate way of conducting a professional massage. Watson refused,” per the lawsuit.

“Watson told her he ‘gets hot easily’ and for that reason he wanted to remain completely nude.” While she thought something was “off,” she wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. But shortly thereafter, “Watson kept aggressively redirecting Plaintiff towards his anus. Watson asked Plaintiff to use more and more oil on his anus.” She was uncomfortable. “Watson then got more specific and asked Plaintiff to work on the inner part of his anus,” the civil suit says.

The woman ignored him and started to work on his inner thighs, but he got “more aggressive, now telling Plaintiff to go higher and higher, towards his penis.” She said no, but “Watson kept insisting, saying ‘come up more and go here towards his genitals.’”

“It was at this point that Watson moved in her direction, causing Plaintiff’s hand to touch Watson’s genitals.” He flipped onto his back, completely exposing his penis. She told him that he needed to cover himself. He refused to, and she stopped the session, saying she had to go. “Watson grabbed her hand and started to rub her arm, pulling her towards him, saying ‘it is okay, it is okay.’” The woman pulled away from Watson, reiterating that she needed to leave. Watson got into the shower and she left, the suit states. ​​​​​​​

The alleged September 9, 2020 incident

In a March 18 lawsuit, one woman, who’s a licensed esthetician, said she had “several” interactions with Watson. The first was in September 2020 and the second in October 2020. The her boss said that Watson had reached out, asking for the woman’s photograph. Watson told her boss that he wanted to give her a massage. The woman thought this was “odd” and said no.

The boss said that Watson asked for her phone number so he could directly schedule an appointment. They wound up scheduling an appointment; before he got there, Watson texted her “incessantly,” asking if anyone else was at the spa. He asked to use the spa’s back entrance.

After he got there, the woman told him she was going to leave the massage room so he could disrobe. He said he did not want her to leave and insisted she stay. Although “bewildered by his contact,” the woman turned around so she wouldn’t see him naked, court papers allege.

Watson, who started complaining right away and “aggressively dictated the session,” asked if he could turn from his stomach onto his back. “When he flipped over, Watson had an erection and asked Plaintiff what she was going to do about his erection.” She told Watson that his behavior wasn’t appropriate, but that she was “scared and confused.” The session wound up ending “without further incident.”

During their October 2020 appointment, however, Watson “escalated his behavior.”

“During the session, Watson tried to put his penis in Plaintiff’s hand and asked Plaintiff if she would touch his penis,” court papers state. He “moved his body in a way that caused Watson’s penis to touch Plaintiff’s hand.” He also tried to kiss her on the mouth. She ended the session early and left.

The alleged September 24, 2020 incident

A lawsuit filed on March 18 alleges that Watson contacted this woman in September. They scheduled a session that would take place at a room in a Houston salon on the 24th. She left the room before the session started so he could undress; when she got back, only his backside was covered with a small towel.

“Watson began to aggressively dictate how he wanted the session to go, and wanted Plaintiff to instead concentrate on his groin area,” the suit states. Watson then got on his back, and the towel “was now only covering his penis.”

“Watson stated several times that he wanted to remove the towel so he could be completely naked. Watson asked Plaintiff if he could be naked, and even asked Plaintiff if it was okay if he got aroused,” the suit charges.

She told him to cover himself and tried to professionally finish the session. At one point, however, Watson “became aroused and got an erection” and “he continued to move his body in a way that would repeatedly cause his penis to touch Plaintiff’s hand.” Shocked, she moved away. Still on his back, “Watson then ejaculated.” The woman left the room, court papers state.

The alleged October 19, 2020 incident

This woman, in her March 18 lawsuit, said that she and Watson agreed to an appointment, which would take place at the woman’s office in Houston. Although Watson was initially respectful, that “changed very quickly.” After the session started, Watson began “staring” at her “in a provocative manner and told her not to raise the towel so high.” He then started to pull the towel down in an effort to expose himself.

Watson told her to work his inner thighs. The woman said she didn’t do that kind of work, but he insisted they hurt, so she agreed. He eventually turned onto his back and she continued to work on the rest of his body. She thought the situation was weird, but gave him the benefit of the doubt. Watson left. Around Nov. 2, Watson texted her about another session. When he arrived, “Watson, without any notice, kissed Plaintiff.”

She quickly left the office, went to her friend’s store next door, told the friend what had happened, and, after composing herself, went back into her office. Watson had already disrobed and “exposed himself.” She told him that wasn’t normal, but needed the business and money “as a single mom,” and continued with the session.

She declined to massage his buttocks and genital area, but he “would also move his body in a way that would cause his penis to touch Plaintiff’s hand.” She declined his offer to pay more to massage those areas. He became upset and left, court papers allege.

The alleged December 28, 2020 incident

In a lawsuit filed on March 17, the woman stated that Watson reached out to her in December and scheduled a massage session for the 28th of that month. She and her mom went to an office, as planned, and they set up the massage room. Her mom left and saw Watson enter the office building. The woman left Watson in the room so he could undress. When she came back, Watson was on the table with a tiny towel on his backside, according to court papers.

She “started getting uncomfortable but did not want to upset the much taller and stronger Watson who is 6’2 and weighs over 200 pounds,” the suit states. While she tried to keep the session professional, Watson “soon aggressively started dictating the massage and where he wanted Plaintiff to touch him on his body,” insisting on his “inner glutes” and “inner thighs.”

“Watson made clear, repeatedly, that he was a professional football player who could help or hurt her career.”

After Watson flipped onto his back, he “began to coerce” her “to massage his inner groin area.” She said she had a “special tool” she had to use, but he refused, saying he wanted this area massaged with her hands. Not long after he asked for his abs to me massaged, Watson “got more aggressive, forcefully telling her to move her hand down to his pubic area.”

“Watson instructed her to slide her hand across his genitals,” the suit says. The woman began shaking, and it was clear that she was scared. “Watson kept coercing and intimidating Plaintiff and it was at this point that Watson coerced Plaintiff to move her mouth towards his penis, forcing Plaintiff to perform oral sex on him,” the suit states. “Plaintiff did not consent to any of this conduct. Plaintiff blacked out for a few minutes from the fear,” court papers state.

Watson denies wrongdoing

In a March 16 tweet, Watson vehemently denied abusing women. “As a result of a social media post by a publicity-seeking plaintiff’s lawyer, I recently became aware of a lawsuit that has apparently been filed against me. I have not yet seen the complaint, but I know this: I have never treated any woman with anything other than the utmost respect,” he wrote in a note comprising his tweet. “The plaintiff’s lawyer claims that this isn’t about money, but before filing the suit he made a baseless six-figure settlement demand, which I quickly rejected. Unlike him, this isn’t about money for me—it’s about clearing my name, and I look forward to doing that.”

Rusty Hardin, Watson’s lawyer, told ESPN after the first two lawsuits: “I’m real comfortable with the kind of person that Deshaun Watson is, and I don’t like to publicly comment until I get all the facts… the allegations are really inconsistent with the kind of person he is.”

Hardin released a statement Friday, which said: ““I’m extremely proud to represent Deshaun Watson and wholly stand behind him against what we believe are meritless allegations. However, we will wait to comment in detail until we’ve completed our review of the numerous, evolving allegations…We will respond next week and ask you to keep an open mind until we do so.”

The NFL opens an investigation

The NFL told the Texans on Thursday that it was probing the allegations against Watson. In a statement Thursday, the Texans said they would cooperate, NFL.com reported. “The NFL informed us today that they will conduct an investigation into the allegations made in the civil lawsuits filed against Deshaun Watson,” the Texans said. “We will stay in close contact with the league as they do.”

Watson has not been charged

Asked for comment on the allegations, a spokesperson for the Houston Police Department said: “We cannot confirm suspects who are not charged.” The Department doesn’t confirm investigations against any individual unless that individual is charged and or arrested, authorities also said.

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Historic Firefighter pay settlement and new contract win city council approval

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Houston City Council has approved a historic pay settlement and a new five-year contract for the 4,000 dedicated men and women of the Houston Fire Department. The vote marks a long-awaited victory for Houston firefighters, ending the disrespect and legal challenges and beginning the process of returning the HFD to a world-class department with adequate staffing and equipment.

“This is a historic day! I urge Houston firefighters and their families to relish this well-deserved victory. For eight long years, you have persevered through immense challenges while continuing to protect and serve our community,” said Patrick M. ‘Marty’ Lancton, President of the HPFFA. “Today’s vote by City Council is not just a resolution of past grievances; it’s recognition of our sacrifices and a commitment to providing the resources needed to continue serving Houston with dedication and pride.”

Houston City Council stalls vote on Fire Department contract – Houston  Public Media

The settlement includes provisions for back pay owed to firefighters, addressing a contentious issue that has strained labor relations for nearly a decade. The new five-year collective bargaining agreement provides pay hikes, significant improvements in working conditions, enhanced benefits, a renewed focus on recruitment and retention, and mental health support — a crucial component given firefighting’s stressful and demanding nature. The landmark deal underscores the core tenets of what it means to be a Houston firefighter: delivering excellent service, being good stewards of city resources, and giving back to the community.

“We owe a profound debt of gratitude to Mayor Whitmire for his steadfast commitment to bringing this ordeal to a close,” said Lancton. “He made a promise, and he has fulfilled it. His support and public recognition of Houston firefighters and the job they do are bolstering morale and helping to mend years of distrust. We eagerly anticipate further collaboration as we strive to enhance firefighting and emergency services for Houstonians.”

Firefighters will receive their back pay in July. The new five-year contract is effective with the start of the city’s new fiscal year on July 1, 2024.

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Council Member Abbie Kamin Honored by Greater Houston LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce

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Greater Houston LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce is honoring City of Houston Council Member Abbie Kamin with the Chamber Champion Award at the fourth annual Pride In Business Celebration & Awards Luncheon, which recognizes the contributions made by Chamber members, Impact Partners, and other key stakeholders in building a more diverse and inclusive business community. The awards spotlight deserving companies and individuals and showcase their impactful work to support the LGBTQ+ community.

Council Member Abbie Kamin received the Chamber Champion Award, a designation earned by a strong advocate for the Chamber committed to advancing prosperity for our LGBTQ+ community.  “I’ve had the privilege to work alongside the Chamber and see firsthand the incredible partnerships they foster for our LGBTQIA+ community and businesses. I am extremely moved by this award and what it represents.” said Council Member Kamin. “Business is the backbone of our thriving city and can make a difference when it comes to fighting back against the unacceptable discrimination and bigotry our LGBTQIA+ community is facing. I will always stand with our LGBTQIA+ businesses and families, and thank the Chamber for this prestigious honor.”

“Council Member Kamin has been a longtime advocate and champion for the LGBTQ+ community. She is a partner with the Chamber on the Show Your Pride campaign and supported the Chamber’s efforts to make Houston the first city in Texas to recognize LGBTQ+ owned businesses in City of Houston contracting,” said Tammi Wallace, Co-Founder, President & CEO, Greater Houston LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce.  “In 2022, she created the Families with Pride festival to celebrate love, inclusivity, and all families, and she was recognized as the Ally Grand Marshal for the Pride Parade in 2021. It’s for these reasons and more that the Chamber is proud to recognize her as an outstanding champion and ally of the LGBTQ+ community.”

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Council Member Thomas Hosts Swim & Water Safety Seminar

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As temperatures soar into the high 90s, Council Member Tiffany D. Thomas is bringing her “Summer of Safety” initiative to the pool. Pools offer a refreshing escape from the heat, but they also come with inherent risks. According to the latest U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the CDC report, there is an annual average of 389 pool or spa-related fatal drownings and 6,300 nonfatal drowning injuries among children under 15. Alarmingly, 73% of these fatalities and 80% of the injuries involve children under five. Tragically, as recent as June 1st of this year, a 5-year-old girl drowned in a pool in the Westchase area of District F.
“This speaks to the overall importance of why we need to make sure that our families, young people, and adults have the tools they need in order to swim,” said Council Member Thomas.
Launched in 2023, the “Summer of Safety” initiative is returning with enhanced programming. This year’s events continue to focus on the health and safety of young residents in District F, aiming to improve the quality of life for all constituents in the district and across Houston.
The “Summer of Safety” initiative kicks off with a Swim and Water Safety Seminar at the Alief Neighborhood Center Pool. Hosted by Council Member Thomas in collaboration with Houston Waves, Houston Parks and Recreation Department, and Coach CPR LLC., the seminar will feature a beginner’s swimming class and essential pool safety guidelines.
This event is a prime opportunity to update, educate, and empower the community with the knowledge that swimming skills and pool safety are crucial at any age.
Event Details:
WHAT: Swim & Water Safety Seminar
WHEN: Saturday, June 15 and Saturday, July 13, 2024, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
WHERE: The Alief Neighborhood Center Pool, 11903 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX 77072
WHO: Tiffany D. Thomas, Houston City Council Member for District F, and a staunch advocate for quality of life and public safety; Moms, Dads, kids, and adults enjoying the first summer in the new Alief Neighborhood Pool.
WHY: There are approximately 4,000 fatal unintentional drownings each year, which averages to about 11 drowning deaths per day. Additionally, there are around 8,000 nonfatal drownings annually, resulting in an average of 22 nonfatal drownings per day.

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