Houston Texans’ Deshaun Watson describes women’s lawsuits as ‘money grab’

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has struck back at the women accusing him of sexual misconduct, stating in court documents that they’re lying and using sexual innuendo to “bolster their claims for money.”

Watson’s version of events came Monday in his first official answer to the 22 lawsuits that have been filed against him since March 16. Many of the women say he exposed himself and caused them to touch his genitals during massage sessions after contacting them on Instagram for their services.

“It was not until the plaintiffs saw an opportunity for a money grab that they changed their stories to convert therapy sessions they bragged about to friends and family to something much more nefarious,” said Watson’s answer, filed Monday in Harris County, Texas. “Innocent questions about whether the therapists were comfortable with the therapy Mr. Watson sought evolved into sexual inuendo (sic) that the plaintiffs used to bolster their claims for money.”

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has had 22 lawsuits filed against him since March 16. (Photo: Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports)

As an example, Watson states he asked the first plaintiff, Ashley Solis, if she was comfortable working on certain areas his organization is “making him get worked on.”

“That same question, however, posed to a therapist not seeking to exploit Mr. Watson, was perceived as it was intended: a legitimate therapeutic inquiry,” Watson’s answer states. “Ms. Solis’s skewed perception of Mr. Watson’s legitimate and innocent query became a prototype for the assembly line of similar allegations in subsequent lawsuits.”

The women are seeking compensatory damages in their lawsuits and all have attached their names to their allegations after most initially filed suit under the pseudonym Jane Doe.

Since learning the names of the women, Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said his legal team has “uncovered evidence that numerous allegations in this onslaught of cases are simply not true.”

For example, the document states that eight plaintiffs “bragged about, praised, and were excited about massaging Mr. Watson” after massage sessions; seven plaintiffs “willingly worked or offered to work" with him after their alleged incidents and three lied about their alleged trauma. The document also states five plaintiffs told others they wanted to get money out of Watson, and five plaintiffs have “scrubbed or entirely deleted their social media accounts" to get rid of evidence that was "inconsistent with the image they portray through their petitions."

Solis, a massage therapist, was the first to file suit and the first to come forward publicly by name. 

"I am deeply saddened but not surprised to see so many victim-blaming in the press and by online commenters," she said on April 6. "And they have absolutely no idea what I’m going through or what happened to me."

Follow reporter Brent Schrotenboer @Schrotenboer. E-mail: [email protected]

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