HOUSTON — Two of the 22 ladies who’ve filed lawsuits towards Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson alleging sexual assault and inappropriate habits got here ahead publicly throughout a information convention Tuesday.
Ashley Solis, who lawyer Tony Buzbee stated was the primary therapeutic massage therapist to file a lawsuit towards Watson on March 16, spoke within the information convention. Lauren Baxley wrote a letter to Watson that was learn by lawyer Cornelia Brandfield-Harvey, who works at Buzbee’s regulation agency.
“I bought into therapeutic massage remedy to heal folks,” Solis stated. “To heal their minds and our bodies. To deliver peace to their souls. Deshaun Watson has robbed me of that. He took that away from me, he tainted a occupation wherein I take monumental delight. … I undergo from panic assaults, nervousness and despair. I am in counseling because of Deshaun Watson’s actions. I hope he is aware of how a lot ache he is inflicted on me emotionally and bodily. And I hope he is aware of how a lot ache he is inflicted on these different survivors.”
“Individuals say that I am doing this only for cash,” Solis stated. “That’s false. I come ahead now in order that Deshaun Watson doesn’t assault one other girl.”
In response to Tuesday’s information convention, Rusty Hardin’s regulation agency, which is representing Watson, stated in a press release that Buzbee’s agency “sought $100,000 in hush cash on behalf of Ms. Solis to quietly settle the allegations the month earlier than he filed the primary lawsuit.”
The assertion additionally included an electronic mail change between the Buzbee Regulation Agency and a consultant for Watson, lawyer Scott Gaffield. The communications had been dated between Feb. 3 and Feb. 19, 2021.
“My electronic mail exchanges with Mr. Buzbee and Ms. Brandfield-Harvey had been very clear,” Gaffield stated in a written assertion. “We didn’t suppose that the details confirmed that Deshaun did something unsuitable with their shopper. We believed then — and totally consider now — that Deshaun discovered a lesson about placing himself in any such state of affairs by interacting with folks he doesn’t know.
“Because the emails present, we had been keen to proceed discussions on Deshaun’s behalf to discover methods to forestall a lawsuit and a public spectacle. However Mr. Buzbee knowledgeable us that he was unwilling to take action. We anticipate that this matter will likely be resolved in court docket.”
In a press release Tuesday, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy referred to as the allegations towards Watson “deeply disturbing,” noting, “we take these points very significantly.”
McCarthy stated that the league launched an investigation below its private conduct coverage final month after the primary allegations and that the NFL is “persevering with to carefully monitor all developments within the matter.”
A supply informed ESPN’s Ed Werder that the NFL has been in direct contact with Buzbee.
In her letter addressing Watson, Baxley wrote, “Each boundary from skilled and therapeutic to sexual and degrading you crossed or tried to cross.”
Baxley stated she wrote the letter to Watson on the advice of her trauma therapist to “forgive myself for not talking up sooner” and in addition “so to know with out excuse or justification that you’ve deeply and irreversibly introduced terror to me and others.”
“I initially got here ahead to supply solidarity to different ladies, however I’ve since realized that I am deserving of justice as properly,” Baxley wrote. “I hope the court docket of regulation brings that justice, and that you simply’re stripped of each your energy and skill to harm extra ladies.”
Final week, 18 ladies launched statements via Hardin, saying that they’ve labored with the Texans quarterback and that he “by no means made them really feel uncomfortable or demanded something outdoors the scope of knowledgeable therapeutic massage.”
Watson’s lawyer stated the statements had been voluntary and had been from ladies who’ve collectively “labored with Deshaun greater than 130 instances over the previous 5 years.”
On Tuesday, Buzbee stated one of many ladies who gave a kind of statements additionally despatched a direct message regarding Watson, saying she stopped working with him as a result of she was “listening to an excessive amount of stuff about him messing with different folks.”
“That is two completely different tales,” Buzbee stated. “Now, am I suggesting that the 18 ladies had unhealthy experiences? I do not know. Am I suggesting there is a motive they got here ahead? I do not know. That is a query so that you can ask. However what I do know is that what was stated publicly by this one particular person and what was stated privately had been two fully various things.”
Buzbee additionally stated his agency has turned away 5 different ladies who approached it with instances towards Watson as a result of the agency could not substantiate their claims.
In response to Buzbee, Solis and a minimum of one different of his shoppers have offered statements to the police. On Friday, the Houston Police Division stated in a press release that it has launched an investigation of Watson after a complainant filed a report.
“As with all allegation, the Houston Police Division is now conducting an investigation and won’t remark additional through the investigative course of,” the division stated in a press release. It didn’t specify what Watson is being accused of within the grievance.
Hardin stated in a press release in a while Friday that he and Watson will “totally cooperate with the Houston Police Division.”
“We welcome this lengthy overdue improvement,” Hardin stated. “Now we are going to study the identification of a minimum of one accuser. We are going to totally cooperate with the Houston Police Division.”
In a letter Monday to Texans season-ticket holders that’s usually despatched within the spring, the McNair household addressed the civil lawsuits and a grievance filed with the Houston Police Division towards Watson, saying, “We need to guarantee you that we take these allegations very significantly.
“Whereas we await the conclusion of those investigations, we specific our sturdy stance towards any type of sexual assault,” the letter reads. “Our household and your complete Houston Texans group are deeply troubled by any type of abuse and we condemn any such habits.”