Thirty women who accused the Houston Texans of turning a blind eye to their allegations that ex-quarterback Deshaun Watson sexually assaulted and harassed women at massage sessions have now settled the lawsuits against the franchise NFL.
The exact terms of the agreements between the Texans and each of the women are confidential, however, according to attorney Tony Buzbee who revealed news of the development to the AP.
Only one of the women filed a lawsuit against the franchise, but as others planned to make legal claims, the Texans went ahead and reached settlements with them.
Texans owners Janice McNair and Hannah and Cal McNair said in a statement that while the team had no knowledge of Watson’s alleged misconduct, they were left “shocked and deeply saddened” when they first learned of the charges that led them to choose to resolve the claims “amicably”.
“This is not an admission of wrongdoing, but rather a clear stand against all forms of sexual assault and misconduct. We hope today’s resolution will provide some form of closure to the parties involved, to our fans and the Houston community as a whole.
“As an organization, we will now focus on the future and do what we can to ensure respect for all,” describes the McNairs.
Separate lawsuits saw 24 women accuse Watson, now with the Cleveland Browns, of exposing himself and then touching them with his penis or kissing them against their will while receiving massages during his time with the Texans.
A woman also alleged that Watson forced her to perform oral sex on him, and Buzbee reported that 20 of those 24 settlements had already been settled.
In the lawsuit that was filed against the Texans last month, a woman accused the franchise and a number of its employees of knowing about Watson’s “known tendency to push the limits during massage sessions”.
The lawsuit alleged that the Texans provided Watson with resources to carry out his deeds, including reserved rooms in a Houston hotel, massage tables, as well as a nondisclosure agreement the women had to sign that allowed to Watson “to further his misconduct with women”.
Buzbee acknowledged that there was a “marked contrast” in how the Texans handled the allegations and how Watson’s legal team handled them.
Watson continues to maintain his innocence. And while he signed a five-year, $230 million deal with the Browns in March after four years in Houston, Watson is currently waiting to see if the NFL will pursue disciplinary action over the allegations and let him play next season. .
The league insisted that Watson receive an indefinite suspension, but the players’ union protests that there is no basis for such a ban as Watson has committed no crime.
Buzbee revealed hope that the four remaining lawsuits will go to trial in the spring of next year.
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