HOUSTON (AP) – Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has been sued by four other women accusing him of sexual assault and stalking.
The lawsuits were filed Thursday night, hours after the NFL announced it was investigating previous allegations by three massage therapists that the quarterback had sexually assaulted them during massages.
The claims in the four new lawsuits, which were filed in Harris County court, resemble those in the three previous cases. Each of the women who sued Thursday works in a spa or gives massages, noting that Watson was discovered, touched them with his penis during massage sessions or kissed them without their consent.
None of the seven women, who filed their lawsuits separately but are represented by Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, are identified by name in the lawsuits. All seek compensation for damages, as well as payment of legal costs.
Watson, 25, has flatly denied acting inappropriately, saying in a statement Tuesday that he was eager to clear his name.
In a statement released Friday, Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said the allegations “were unfounded.”
During a press conference on Friday, Buzbee said she planned to file more lawsuits and that her firm is rejecting complaints from other women, including one involving an incident this month. None of her clients had filed police complaints, she said, “but that’s our next step.”
Buzbee said some of the masseurs who made their allegations public work in spas, some from their homes and some in luxury hotels. All but one, who has traveled from Atlanta, are from the greater Houston area.
“These are mostly licensed professionals. These are people who, many of them, are single mothers, and whether they own their own business or work in a spa, “said the lawyer, adding that three of his clients are married and one is engaged.
The women are demanding that they be paid $ 500 in damages, which is the smallest amount that can be requested in a civil district court in Texas, “and they are bringing these cases for one reason only: to prevent this defendant or others like he continues to engage in inappropriate behavior, ”Buzbee said.
Meanwhile, Hardin’s statement noted that he is “extremely proud to represent Deshaun Watson and I fully support him.”
“However, we will wait to comment further on this until we have completed our review of the many and changing allegations by Mr. Buzbee,” the statement read. “We will respond next week and ask you to keep an open mind until we do.”
Watson is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and led the league with the most passing yards last season. He signed a four-year, $ 156 million contract extension with the Texans last offseason, but was dissatisfied with the team’s leadership after Houston fell to 4-12 and requested his trade in January.