It is the 26th lawsuit filed by women against Watson alleging sexual misconduct during massage sessions and becomes the second lawsuit currently active. A lawsuit was dropped and Watson reached settlements with 23 of his accusers, according to women’s attorney Anthony Buzbee.
Deshaun Watson has been suspended for 11 games and fined $5 million
The woman who filed the lawsuit Thursday is not represented by Buzbee. The attorney named in her lawsuit is Anissah M. Nguyen of Houston.
Watson was unavailable for comment, while his attorney, Rusty Hardin, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday night. Watson has not been charged with a crime and has previously denied the other women’s allegations against him.
“I’m moving on with my career, with my life, and I will continue to stand by my innocence,” Watson said at a May 14 press conference at the Browns’ training facility in Berea, Ohio. “Just because settlements and things like that happen doesn’t mean a person is guilty of anything.”
It wasn’t immediately clear Thursday night whether the new allegation could affect the settlement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association that saw Watson suspended for 11 games and fined $5 million for violating the personal violated the League’s Code of Conduct. Neither the league nor the NFLPA immediately responded to a request for comment. The settlement reportedly covered the cases handled by Sue L. Robinson, the former U.S. District Judge and disciplinary commissioner appointed jointly by the league and NFLPA, as well as all substantially similar violations prior to the date of the league-union agreement.
The settlement came after the NFL appealed the six-game suspension originally imposed by Robinson. The NFL had requested an indefinite suspension of at least one full season.
Watson returned to the Browns’ training facility on Monday, the first day he was allowed to return to the team due to his suspension. He can resume practice on November 14 and is eligible to attend a December 4 game in Houston against the Texans, his former team. The settlement also required Watson to undergo a professional evaluation and treatment plan. The Browns did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The new lawsuit lists her pleas as civil assault and willful infliction of emotional distress and seeks unspecified damages. It says the woman is a licensed massage therapist who has been working from home during the pandemic and has traveled to meet some clients. According to the lawsuit, Watson contacted her via direct message on Instagram and requested a massage on Dec. 17, 2020. The woman had no prior contact with Watson and had not worked with any other Texas player, the lawsuit states.
According to the lawsuit, she met Watson at the Houstonian Hotel on or about December 18, 2020. As the woman set up her massage table, Watson went into a bathroom, undressed and came out wearing only a towel, the lawsuit says. He “constantly pressured the woman” to “massage his privates,” the indictment says, then “removed his towel and offered to let her ‘climb onto the blanket’.” to the lawsuit, which added that Watson paid her $300.
The woman “suffered from severe depression and anxiety” as a result of Watson’s behavior and is seeking counseling, the lawsuit says.
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