Attorneys for football star Deshaun Watson filed a response Monday to lawsuits making allegations of sexual misconduct, denying the claims based partly on the assertion that some of the women continued to work with Watson after they say he acted inappropriately toward them.
Twenty-two women have filed lawsuits against the standout Houston Texans quarterback, saying he forced sexual contact with them during massage sessions in 2020 or earlier this year.
“These lawsuits are replete with mischaracterizations of Mr. Watson’s conduct,” defense lawyer Rusty Hardin wrote in a response to one of the plaintiffs, Ashely Solis. “These range from being misleading, to fraudulent, to slanderous.”
The plaintiffs had originally filed anonymously as Jane Doe, before courts said the women had to identify themselves for the lawsuits to go forward. Watson’s attorneys said without the names, the quarterback would have had no chance to defend himself against their claims.
“At least five of the plaintiffs chose to work with Mr. Watson even after they claim he acted offensively and aggressively in prior sessions: Erica Chapman, Kaylan Hurrington, Rebecca Nagy, Toi Garner, and Chelcie Bell,” Hardin said in the filing.
“This, of course, raises the question of why they would agree to follow-up therapy sessions when they claim their experiences made them feel like they ‘wanted to vomit’ and caused them to ‘no longer accept massage clients, for fear of a repeat of this type of harassment.'”
Hardin also said plaintiff Tangee Johnson massaged Watson in a session after his alleged misconduct with her. And accuser Krystle Da Rosa sought Watson for work, even after he was allegedly inappropriate with her, according to Hardin.
Houston attorney Anthony Buzbee, who represents all the women, said the response contained vague and fake allegations.
“As fully anticipated and despite his lawyer’s previous statements, Deshaun Watson’s only defense is to call these brave women liars,” Buzbee said.
Watson has spent all four seasons of his career in Houston.
He threw for a league-high 4,823 yards in 2020 and has reportedly asked to be traded and his future has been a point of nonstop speculation.