Deshaun Watson Booked Massage Therapy Sessions With 66 Different Women, per Report
Editors’ note: This story contains accounts of sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or at https://www.rainn.org.
Amid the 24th active civil lawsuit filed against Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, a new report from The New York Times’ Jenny Vrentas found that the 26-year-old booked sessions with at least 66 different women for massage therapy sessions in the span of 17 months.
The report contradicts previous claims made by Watson that he booked appointments with 40 different massage therapists during his five seasons with Houston. Vrentas found that the 66 women were booked between fall 2019 to spring 2021. Some of the 66 women reported similar troubling behavior from the former Texans quarterback.
Watson is facing 24 active civil lawsuits filed by massage therapists, each detailing graphic accounts of sexual harassment and sexual assault that occurred during massage therapy sessions. The accounts range from Watson allegedly refusing to cover his genitals to the quarterback “touching [a plaintiff] with his penis and trying to force her to perform oral sex on him.”
According to Vrentas, the 66 women include the 24 plaintiffs as well as two women who filed criminal complaints against him, though they did not sue him. Another one of the women filed a suit against Watson but withdrew her complaint due to “privacy and security concerns” days after judges ruled that the plaintiffs had to reveal their identities. The 66 also includes 15 therapists who gave statements of support for Watson—which were requested by his attorneys—and at least four therapists from Genuine Touch, the massage therapy group contracted by the Texans. Five were identified during the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ investigation into the suits, and at least 15 other women were confirmed through interviews and records obtained by The Times.
Most of the women did not sue or call the police after their sessions with Watson, but some told Vrentas that the former Texans quarterback “came looking for sex.” In one instance, a physical therapist who did not sue Watson said that in the three meetings with the quarterback, he initiated sexual contact in every encounter.
In an interview with The Times, she said that in their first session when he flipped over onto his back, he got in the happy baby yoga pose: a position where the person is on their back with their feet in their hands. He reportedly asked her to massage in between his anus and testicles. When she laughed off the request, he reportedly grabbed her wrist and put her hand there. She told The Times that Watson initiated sex twice, including one instance where he pulled down her scrubs. She said she allowed him to proceed with the sexual acts.
“I just didn’t know how to tell him no,” she said.
When asked about this specific encounter, Watson’s lawyer Rusty Hardin said in a statement via The Times, “It would be irresponsible and premature for us to comment on vague details put forth by anonymous individuals.”
Scroll to Continue
Another individual, an aesthetician who had a few sessions with Watson in summer 2020, said that Watson booked a session for a back facial. Though there was no sexual contact, she said in the interview that he got completely naked and directed her toward his groin. She told The Times she believes he was there looking for more than a massage. Watson also bought 30 bottles worth of a $40 skin cleanser from the aesthetician.
Watson’s attorneys have previously admitted that the quarterback had sexual contact with three of the plaintiffs, but say that those acts happened after the sessions and were initiated by the women, per The Times. During an interview last week with Sports Radio 610, Hardin said “happy endings” are not a crime. Hardin did not respond to The Times when asked if Watson had sexual contact with other therapists.
Following the release of HBO’s Real Sports segment, a 23rd lawsuit emerged against Watson on May 31, with the plaintiff citing that the segment and Watson saying he had “no regrets” changed her mind. On June 6, the 24th lawsuit was filed and details a similar account to the 23 other suits against Watson.
Despite the ongoing civil lawsuits, the Browns traded for Watson in March and signed him to a massive five-year contract worth a guaranteed $230 million, setting a new record for the highest guaranteed contract ever. A clause built into the contract will have Watson losing only $55,556 for every game he’s suspended this season, as he is set to make just $1 million in 2022.
The NFL is currently investigating Watson, with commissioner Roger Goodell saying in late May that the league is “nearing the end of the investigation,” though no timeline was provided on when a ruling would be issued by the disciplinary officer.
Watson previously faced multiple criminal complaints but is no longer facing charges following two separate grand jury hearings. A Harris County grand jury returned nine “no” decisions on nine criminal complaints against Watson in March and a county prosecutor said that the decision concluded criminal proceedings against him in that county. A grand jury in Brazoria County declined to charge Watson on a 10th count on March 24.
During his introductory press conference with Cleveland in March, Watson denied assaulting, harassing or disrespecting any woman.
More Deshaun Watson Coverage: