CLEVELAND — WARNING: The below story features graphic and explicit content. Reader discretion is advised.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is currently facing 24 civil lawsuits by women accusing him of sexual misconduct, including two just filed within the last week.
On Tuesday, a new article published by The New York Times took a deeper dive into the allegations against the embattled NFL star, including some details not previously known by the public.
According to sportswriter Jenny Vrentas, Watson met with at least 66 different women for massage appointments between the fall of 2019 and spring of 2021, far more than the roughly 40 he has previously claimed in depositions. The larger figure includes the 24 currently accusing him in court, but also additional women who alleged various forms of misconduct despite not pursuing further legal action, if any.
One woman, who spoke to The Times on the condition of anonymity, did not file a lawsuit against Watson or talk to police. However, she claims Watson exposed himself to her during their session and was "begging" her to give him oral sex.
"I specifically had to say, 'No, I can't do that,'" she said. "And that's when I went into asking him, 'What is it like being famous? Like, what's going on? You're about to mess up everything.'"
The woman told Vrentas she was connected with Watson through Dionne Louis, owner of A New U Spa in Houston. Watson apparently frequented the establishment numerous times during his time with the Texans, and at one point paid Louis $5,000 to buy new equipment.
As part of their relationship, The Times reports Louis was able to set Watson up with multiple women for appointments, including some who were not licensed to perform massages in the state of Texas. One of those women was the one previously mentioned above who did not sue, but in one of the court filings, another of Watson's accusers says she told Louis the QB touched her inappropriately.
"I['ve] been talking to Deshaun I just told [him] off he got it now," Louis purportedly responded in a text message she later denied sending, despite it coming from her phone number. "I told him he can't treat us black women any kind of way."
More of Watson's sessions took place at The Houstonian hotel and club, where he testified under oath the Texans arranged for him to have "a place." At least seven women met Watson for massages at The Houstonian, Vrentas wrote, including four who have either sued him or complained to authorities.
In addition to the Texans allegedly getting him his own hotel room, Watson says the team also provided him with a copy of a non-disclosure agreement he began taking to massage appointments. Security staff apparently gave Watson the NDA after one of his later accusers threatened to "really expose" him on social media, but The Times could not verify if the club knew just how many sessions Watson was going to.
Watson claimed in a deposition the Texans were not aware of his massages at The Houstonian "that I know of." At least two women suing Watson admitted to signing the NDA, with one saying Watson told her she needed to if she wanted to get paid.
Of the 42 women who reportedly met Watson for massages and are not suing, 15 have issued statements supporting him, while three others either withdrew lawsuits or complained to police. More than a dozen others were identified through The Times' reporting, and at least four more worked for a group contracted by the Texans.
Some of the women who did not file complaints still accused Watson of coming to the appointments with the purpose of having sex. One woman told Vrentas she engaged in sexual activity with Watson after he initiated such contact, claiming she "didn't know how to tell him no." Watson's lawyers have said he had sex with three of the massage therapists, but that these encounters were consensual and all initiated by the women.
Earlier this week, a 24th different woman filed a civil lawsuit accusing Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct. The woman says Watson met her for a massage on two occasions within a week of each other in August of 2020. The first, she asserts, was "professional," with Watson even electing to pay her $100 for a $55 session.
Four days later, Watson allegedly came to the plaintiff's apartment for another appointment, and according to the lawsuit "demanded that she work on his inner thighs and quadriceps" despite initially wanting her to massage his upper body area. From there, the details become strikingly similar to some of the prior accusations (including the 23rd lawsuit filed last Tuesday), with the plaintiff claiming Watson exposed himself to her, asked her to touch his private area (she says she would not), and eventually partly ejaculated on her without her consent.
The 23rd case filed against Watson came one week after HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" ran a segment interviewing two of his first 22 accusers. The 23rd woman to file a suit against the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback said she didn't originally plan to move forward with her allegations but decided to do so after seeing the HBO segment.
In a copy of the lawsuit obtained by 3News sister station KHOU, the woman claims Watson harassed or assaulted her on multiple occasions at a Houston massage parlor in the summer of 2020, while Watson was still a member of the Houston Texans.
As Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio pointed out, buried deep in the 23rd lawsuit is the following footnote: "Of course, we now know that Deshaun Watson offered each Plaintiff $100,000 to settle their cases, but not all would accept that amount, due to the aggressive nondisclosure agreement that Watson's team proposed."
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